From the new book of poems:

THE WORLD WILL FOLLOW JOY: Turning Madness Into Flowers

Spring 2013

Simeli_Ananda

Bicycle dress guard by Simeli Ananda

What Do I Get For Getting Old?

A Picture Story
For The Curious

©2011 by Alice Walker

(You supply the pictures.)

I get to meditate
in a chair 
Or against the wall
with my legs
stretched out 
(or even in bed!)

I get to see
maybe half
of what I’m looking at. 
(This changes everything!)

I get to dance
like the tipsy old men
I adored
when I was an infant. 
(They never dropped me!)

I get to spend time with myself
whenever I want.
 
I get to ride a bicycle
with tall
handlebars. 
(My posture improves!)

I get to give up
learning to sail!
I get to know
I will never speak
German!

I get to snuggle all
morning
with my snuggler
of choice:
counting the hours
by how many times
we get up
to pee!

I get to spend time with myself
whenever I want.
 
I get to eat chocolate
with my salad.
Or even as a first course. 
I get to forget!

I get to paint
with colors
I mix myself. 
Colors
I’ve never seen
before.

I get to sleep
with my dog
& pray never to outlive
my cat. 
I get to play
music
without reading
a note. 

I get to spend time with myself
whenever I want!

I get to sleep
in a
hammock
under the same
stars
wherever I am!

I get to spend time with myself
whenever I want!

I get to laugh
at all the things
I don’t know
& cannot
find!

I get to greet
people I don’t remember
as if I know them
very well.
After all, how different
can they be?

I get to grow
my entire
garden
in a few
pots!

I get to spend time with myself
whenever I want. 

I get to see
& feel
the suffering
of the whole
world
& to take
a nap
when I feel
like it
anyway!

I get to spend time with myself
whenever I want!

I get to feel
more love
than I ever thought
existed: 
everything appears to be made
of the stuff!

I feel this
especially for You. Though I may not remember
exactly which You
you are. 
How cool is this!

Still, I get to spend time with myself
whenever I want!

And that is just a taste
as the old people used to say
down in Georgia
when I was a child
of what you get
for getting old.

Reminding us, as they witnessed our curiosity about them, that no matter the losses, there’s something fabulous going on at every stage of Life, something to let go of, maybe, but for darn sure, something to get!

***

One Response to What do I get for getting old? A Picture Story for the Curious!

  • frieda groffy says:

    beautiful! in africa they tell me age is no more then a number! and memories are precious! like this one

    from a Barrio in Havana

    you were beautiful
    old and beautiful
    with your ebony skin
    shining dark in the sun
    your fingers deformed
    by arthritis clasping the glass
    I sat by your side
    two elderly women
    one white, one black
    drinking rum together
    out of one glass, smiling

    from Dancing her Troubles away*