Conversation with a woman over forty
Happiness is the best face-lift. Joni Mitchell
Why change your face?
My mother had that gullet
Fill the cup within - your husband
& sons will taste the sweetness.
crow’s feet in the mirror
loose skin under the chin
I know, I know
a woman past forty needs reassurance
her beauty has not faded,
that the body can perform
its usual tricks.
I’d rather go under the scalpel
than look like that
Beyond your face, such depth
of wanting sears your skin –
they all would drink.
A Poem written against Despair
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
Naomi Shihab Nye
She walked around the circular block of her neighbourhood
and saw that it was good.
She saw lawns newly cut, hedges neatly trimmed,
gardens clipped and tidy.
She saw chrysanthemums flourishing in pots,
purple and gold. She saw asters and brown-eyed
Susan’s in abundance.
She saw three children in the playground.
One toddler, hands full of cookies, came to pat Maggie.
(Maggie saw that it was good).
She saw the fresh pavement on the driveway,
where a new family had just moved in.
She saw the sumacs flaming orange and red
along the soccer field, maples’ tips torched
with the same fire.
She saw houses, driveways and lawns,
each one more beautiful than the last.
She saw the sky was blue and the sun
was warm, and she told herself
that to be alive, right here and now,
She took a deep breath, and told herself,
just for today, all I can do
is quiet the war inside of me,
give up the struggle in my own heart.
If just for today, one person gives up despair
and practices opening her heart to hope,
then peace in the heart will be her gift.