Valerie Simmons

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Now that I am an old woman I know that wearing purple, with a red hat Is nothing but spitting in the wind. True courage involves realism and facing facts. Yes, I can eat three pounds of sausages at a sitting, But my outraged guts will soon tell me who’s boss! When I suffer the pains of an inflated stomach, Mind over matter is never an option. It is hard to witness the blunting of a needle-sharp mind, And the slow disintegration of a formerly agile body, But if reality is not faced and counter-measures taken Then the process speeds up and spirals out of control. I must accept the need to write everything down, And the knowledge that facts sometimes defy instant retrieval. The filing system is ancient and clumsy, Its wheels turn slowly and the mechanisms creak. Even if I spend my money on satin sandals and bikinis Instead of buying old-woman’s shoes for swollen feet, And figure-concealing garments to hide sagging flesh, I nevertheless remain, inexorably senescent, And no amount of bravado Will miraculously resurrect the tautness of youth. Stiffening joints cannot mimic quicksilver movements. The aging body is no more flexible than the aging brain. Today the arms held out to me are to prevent a stumble, To bestow an occasional hug, or the affectionate kiss, Because for the old, the former glory days are over Even if the blood runs hot and the dreams are still fiery. I watch the exploits of youth while I sprawl like a beached whale… Women today have freedoms I never knew, But they are beyond my dwindling reach as the sands run out, So I agonize helplessly against "the dying of the light". I am essentially an old woman fighting the frailties of age, Hoarding the wisdom and experience of my years Within a cynical and enquiring mind more vigorous than my body. Buttressed by pills, patches, and prosthetics I delay the inevitable, And walk the treadmill of diminishing returns, While the landscape of my future darkens and recedes. A resigned acceptance is the only logical philosophy. Certainly wearing purple with a red hat would change nothing….. Valerie Simmons © 13th February, 2005

Valerie Simmons was 84 years old when she wrote this, and had been publishing on an amateur basis for several years.