December 10, 2018
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Going South: a poem

I heard the news the other day –
Another friend has moved away
To places where the sun shines clear
For more months than our sun shines here.

Is that the reason people say,
When someone’s going old and gray
with knobbly hands and drooping mouth
that so-and-so is “Going South?”

No doubt we cannot fight the cold
or skip across an icy road
as once we did with careless ease
without concern for broken knees.

Or does the phrase mean that we sag
From gravity’s relentless drag?
Towards earth our velvet bodies strain
Like sodden grasses after rain.

But “Going South” suggests all bad –
A sliding down, a fall, all sad.
In contrast, I would like to sing
Some praises of this aging thing.

Haven’t we accomplished much
Through all the lives our lives have touched?
Isn’t it a great relief
To laugh at spinach in our teeth?

We are no longer so undone
By little griefs. We cherish fun.
We’ve come so far in peace of mind,
Intangibles youth yearns to find.

It’s not just south; we’re going forth
To east and south and west and north.
The truth is that we’re on the rise,
Free gliding in our calmer skies.


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