Monday, March 12, 2007

Obsolete

A woman at the end of her beauty
will do anything.
Three models marking decades
on the Tampax box
and the hurricane names

repeat themselves.
The children won’t be back, I think.
Time to replace the loving
vicariousness
with something that is mine

and can’t leave me,
new shoots from amputations,
feathery pale and hopeful.
Obsolete as a mother,
who can I be now?

I am life exploding
and you tell me, blushing
over sushi, of a beautiful woman
young enough to be
my daughter.

23 comments:

Michael C said...

I have often wondered if I will just sit around and cry (sob actually) when Lucy and Ethel grow up and move away. I always joked that we should have frozen Lucy in time around 2 years old so we could always have that experience, and let Ethel one grow up. Yeah, I'm glad we didn't
;-)

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Michael,

Part of me is still waiting for them to give up this grown-up thing and come home.

But they have all become incredibly wonderful people, and as much as I miss their baby selves, they have been so amazing at every age that I wouldn't have missed any of it for the world.

MsLittlePea said...

Does it hurt that bad? I haven't had any yet and that scares me a little. My sister cried on her firstborn's first day of school....

Pickled Olives said...

neat poem. I like how it expresses so much in so few words! When my kids were in 2nd & 3rd grade, I decided, this was just a temporary situation in my life. They will grow up and not need me. It dawned on me the woman I was, was no longer so, I started working on the woman I am to become. I am sure I am going to adore me then and I think my kids will too!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Sweet Pea,

No, it is as it should be. The poem was meant to be more about how aging feels for a woman, part of which is not being needed in the same ways by ones children, into whom we have poured so much love and energy.

I think that aging is hard whether or not we have children. But it also presents constant opportunities to perfect ourselves, so that's good.

Olives,

I am sure that everyone who knows you will adore you always. And it's great that you are consciously working on your future self (selves.) If we all planned for life beyond our early adulthood, I think we'd be much happier when we got there.

Thailand Gal said...

There are good points and not such good points about getting older. Since I'm already there, I can honestly say that I've never had the sense of inner freedom before now...

Of course, being an old eccentric helps a lot ~ because there are plenty of other old eccentrics around. Without them, life would "suck" badly.


Peace,


~Chani

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Chani,

I have always considered myself eccentric, even when I was younger.

But now, I find that people are more tolerant of it, probably because they attribute it to my great age.

So yes, older = freer. And that is no small thing.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I am really bad about poetry. I struggle to understand it. The last stanza is rhetorical, right?

Lee said...

I was walking with my neighbor yesterday and she was saying that her husband insisted that she wear a shirt long enough to cover her a$$ at the gym, because he didn't want anyone looking at her. We were laughing because there is usually a plethora of young-n-hot for men to ogle. I thought it was terribly cute of him. At our age, we start to become invisible...I think I'm okay with that...I'm working on it.

I've enjoyed watching my kids grow up...when they leave, it'll be yet another new phase of my life too. Very exciting!

Beautiful poem.

jali said...

OMG - that was so beautiful. These transitions are so dificult for some of us - I call my eldest (well, she's my best friend too) almost every day - she lives in Delaware and is doing great without me. (sigh)

goodthomas said...

I have read this about six times (I am not the sharpest tool in the shed) and I am getting a new slant each time.

A woman "at the end of her beauty?" There seems to be the great twist - you open with that line and then finish off with "I am life exploding" -- which, I believe, is incredibly beautiful.

Beautiful piece, HinSF.

furiousBall said...

This is really brilliant, it's like the feminine version of The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock by TS Eliot. Really enjoyed this.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Squirrel,

Yeah. Although we do eat a lot of sushi.

Lee,

Funny story about your neighbor. Flip thinks that men ogle me all the time, and enjoys it. If they do, I never notice, though.

Every phase is its own adventure.

Jali,

I know what you mean. I always say that I raised my own best friends. And they are all doing fantastic things on their own.

Thomas,

I am far more comfortable writing prose and forced myself to post a homemade poem because it scared me so.

I think that people can remain or become beautiful with age because of who they are inside. At some point, (which varies,) our souls overpower our features, which may or may not have been born perfect.

Mother Teresa probably was not a "hot looking" young woman, but no one would dispute that she was very beautiful when she grew older.

Furious,

You give me way too much credit. Eliot is brilliant!

I can't believe how very kind you've all been.

Thank you!!

Odat said...

I suffer from the Peter Pan syndrom...I won't grow up...but life forces us to and like you so eloquently stated, we become freer, no longer enmeshed in others' opinions of us...that's where the beauty lies!
Great poem...Thank you!
Peace

gugon said...

I thought this was a heartbreaking and beautiful poem.

It's odd, I'm a father of kids ages 11, 7 and 5. I have a ways to go, I know, but I was just thinking the other day about how empty and quiet my house (life) is going to be when they are gone. I'm not sure how I'm going to deal with that.

And the way it ends, "I am life exploding and you tell me, blushing over sushi, of a beautiful woman young enough to be my daughter."

Wow - that really packs a punch.

And at the same time, there is so much tentative hope in this poem that it almost vibrates.

I will admit that the only reason I didn't cry reading this is that I'm at work.

meno said...

Some days i feel like i am at the beginning of my real beauty. Although younger people might disagree.
Some days i am just old.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Odat,

Yes, Peter Pan lives here, too. Sometimes, people tell me how young I seem for my age, and I tell them that it's because I'm so immature. :)

Gugon,

Thank you. I mean, THANK YOU!!

What was really tentative was posting a poem. I love poetry, but have no way to tell if what I write is any good.

I guess the real test of that is whether it communicates to someone.

I really appreciate your compliments.

Meno,

I love and adore your comment! It is a poem in itself. Your visits always make me happy.

Stewart Sternberg said...

Obsolete as a mother. What a strong and horrible statement. I think times of transition are necessarily fleeting, and thank God I say. Thank God. I also liked the line about the younger woman...that statement slides in like the snake inviting Eve to bite the apple.

Great contribution here.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Stewart,

Thank you, kind gentleman.

I've been reading the other responses to your assignment, and I'm so impressed with them.

I feel like a mediocre tennis player who gets to volley with the Olympians. This can only help to improve my game.

Travis said...

Your imagery is so striking and evocative.

"...something that is mine and can't leave me..."

Very powerful.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Travis,

Much as we love our children, we do not own them. And though they love us back, they must live their own lives.

And we must redefine our own.

This is an aspect of life that I find both sad and beautiful.

katrice said...

I already know that I'm going to be miserable when my kids leave home. I've still got a few years yet, but I'm stashing my Kleenex now.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Katrice,

Yes and no. I will always miss the babies and children they were, but as it turned out, I raised my own best friends.

Life always gives us something good to replace what we've lost.