Somehow, I got old
before really learning to be young
the old in my bones is calcified
the young in my soul is still growing

—Terri Guillemets

Real eyes

Now that I’m over the hill
I can see it’s just made of
skeletons of dead monsters
that were never really there.
But that past is no less high
and no less there, and I am
no less on the other side of it.

—Terri Guillemets

My heart sees all the better

My eyes can’t see as well anymore,
      but my heart sees all the better.
My ears have begun to fail me,
      but I hear the quiet budding of success.
I move more slowly now
      but have learned to be still with myself.
I ache and hurt, I’m stiff and sore,
      but my spirit’s never felt so fine.
My memory is slipping,
      but I’ve got a firm grip on what it is to live.
My head is going gray,
      but I’ve found all my true colors.
I get out of bed earlier,
      but still I have plenty of dreams.
I live more softly
      but don’t back down from doing hard things.
My teeth are artificially getting replaced,
      but my soul is real and all my own.
My bones are brittle,
      but my resolve is strong.
I no longer bounce back,
      but I still look forward.
I tell the same stories over and again,
      but still I’m new every day.
I’m nearer to the end,
      yet I’ve only just begun.

—Terri Guillemets

Midlife midriff

Eating a lot of garbage and dessert-obsessive
for several months, I put on a few pounds
      — and more.

Waddling is hell, and fat is a problem for the heart
      — I’m hungry & in pain.

Waist weight is a cruel joke, and age is no help.

—Terri Guillemets

scrambled blackout poetry created from David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day, 2000, pages 136–139

Ode to middle age

How like a lovely autumn morning,
      serene middle age —
a sanctuary of mind, a chapel;
the age of faith on a deep foundation,
      and the age of reason;
silver fellowships, libraries and deep reflection,
wine, liberty, a milder manifestation of the soul;
brilliance upon our lips, more profound, subtle;
the rich flame of the good life, how sweet —
      listening to the murmur of change.

—Terri Guillemets

blackout poetry created from Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own, 1929, Grafton paperback, 1977, pages 11–16