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Poem About Old Age and Growing Older: Could It Be Me?

Updated on December 23, 2014

Could It Be Me?

She walked with a gait that was cautious and tender,

Each step with forethought on a path unkind.

Slowly and steadily, she moved down the alley,

Her hands slightly outstretched to a companionless guide.

A look so forlorn as she groped for the air,

In attempt to balance on legs unsteady and stiff.

Even from the distance, her features were clear—

Rugged and roughened from the bout with time.


The Look in Her Eyes....

Source

She was more than old; she was weathered and worn.

Strands of brittle straw framed a face of tough leather.

Beaten and tired as if she’d gone through

A world of—who knows—and had come out behind.

Did she have children—or had she been married?

Had she been deserted? Or alone all her life?

She looked frail in the wind that gently blew

Litter in gutters and shook her slight frame.


Her life had been hard, undoubtedly, I thought.

Probably harder than most. But then who could know?

I thought of my own—my life, my loss—

Yet how lucky I seemed. Did I have it so bad?

I looked away and back to this solitary soul

On this desolate path....to what and where?

An air of fear I sensed in her.

It gripped me so strong I began to shake.


Poem's History

When I was in the ninth grade, my class was shown a picture of an old woman, a black and white picture of a woman sitting alone in a drab environment. For a 15 year old, the photo was stark, sad, and unreal. While we wrote down our impressions then, over the years I have revised those original thoughts to reflect the poem shown here.

Was she scared of death? Of dying with noone--?

Of what lay ahead? Or would death befriend her?

Who was I to say? Her hopes, or her fears—

Whatever she felt—not for me to know.

She walked closer to me, and soon we were facing.

Eyes rising, hesitant, we peered at each other.

And in those eyes I saw it—the look so disturbing--

Not sad, not afraid—but hollow and empty.


I greeted her warmly; I wanted to help

To bring some joy to her dreary existence.

We talked for a while. Her eyes shone with--what?

Finally, we parted, and I watched her leave,

Glad we had met, and hoping I helped...

To show someone cared--was that my arrogance?

I shook my head, my heart disbelieving,

Unable to separate her thoughts from my own.


Was it real what I saw in those eyes so revealing?

Was it despair of this life—or impatience for death?

An unexpected encounter—between one near the end

And one entering the pathway of life.

Could it be I was jealous that her journey was ending

And my own still ahead--with pains yet unknown?

As she rounded the corner, my throat tightened.

My eyes couldn’t move from the place where she passed.


When I Am Old I Shall Wear Purple

Confused and shaken, my heart was racing

As my ordered thoughts were now undone.

The wind gained strength where mine had waned,

Knocking off my cap, flopping on the ground

Here and there, with its own sort of doubts

Looking to settle, free from its torment.

I had to see her again, but for whose sake?

For a poor old lady or just for myself?

Comments

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    • Timely profile image

      Timely 5 years ago from United States

      Victoria Lynn, Touching deep and beatifully expressed. See her again for both of you. She had plenty to say as well as you, just not the right time. I hope you cross paths again with someone similar because now older you are wiser:)

    • Robin Cristy profile image

      Robin Cristy 5 years ago

      Your words are touching, beautiful...

    • Victoria Lynn profile image
      Author

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I wish I could meet with her again, Timely, but she was only in my mind....

      Thanks to you both--Timely and Robin Cristy--for your kind and encouraging compliments. Thanks for reading!

    • TKs view profile image

      TKs view 5 years ago from The Middle Path

      I've had some of those same thoughts, watching an old man, back bent from his burdens. I think about me growing old and it still seems somewhat unreal. I do not look forward to that possible future. Voting up.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image
      Author

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Thanks for the vote up, TKs view, and for validating my thoughts and feelings. Different perspectives, wondering what it feels like to be on the other side--it's a lot to take in. Only time will tell how we'll feel ourselves....

    • brandasaur profile image

      brandasaur 5 years ago from Planet X

      Very moving ? I made my dad read this, he liked it too and can relate a lot. :)

    • Victoria Lynn profile image
      Author

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      brandasaur--I'm glad you and your dad liked the poem, and he could relate. Very cool.... By the way, I do love your pic of the little dog. Yours? :-)

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "To show someone cared--was that my arrogance?"

      An arrogant person would never question her own motives. Only a loving person would do that.

      Up and awesome.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image
      Author

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Thanks, Will! Very insightful comment--I love that! Thanks for the votes and wonderful comment.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I really like this one, Victoria, so I'm sharing it.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image
      Author

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I appreciate your sharing it, Will--and I'm absolutely thrilled that you really like it!! :-)

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 5 years ago from New Jersey

      Hi Victoria Lynn,

      That was very moving. In our times age is hard to determine at times, until we see a person who actually lets their skin wrinkle. Everyone is so botoxed and can't even move their faces. Always remember her, and that she still kept going, as I hope you will when you get old. I see so many people only getting to their forties and not taking care of themselves. If they watch their health, they could have half of it yet to live.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      ..you are a writer whom I come to admire in so many ways my dear Miss Lynn of Victoria - I was no doubt very moved by your poetic opus but also by you the author for penning/creating this sacred and tender words - a hubbravo to you and a posting to my Facebook page with a direct link back here to let the world know of your special writing talents ....and of course your heart and soul - lake erie time ontario canada 1:49am

    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 5 years ago from Florida

      It is a really moving a touching poem.

      JT

    • cherylone profile image

      Cheryl Simonds 5 years ago from Connecticut

      I really enjoyed this, it made me think about the elderly people I see often struggling along as I stroll by, or at least used to stroll by, now I kinda gimp a bit, hmmm, could I become that old lady????

    • Alladream74 profile image

      Victor Mavedzenge 5 years ago from Oakland, California

      A strong poem.Really enjoyed the read.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image
      Author

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Very true, Jean. Great comments.

      Thanks, JT. I appreciate your stopping by!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image
      Author

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Epi, I'm truly humbled by your admiration. "Miss Lynn of Victoria"--I like that! Your comments mean more than I can express. Thanks, too, for sharing the poem, my heart, and my soul. :-) And I'm thrilled to have received a "hubbravo"!!!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image
      Author

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I think that, too, sometimes, cherylone. I wonder what I'm going to be like as an old lady!

      Thanks, Alladream! Much appreciated.

    • shampa sadhya profile image

      Shampa Sadhya 5 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA

      Voted up and beautiful. It is extremely touching poem. Who knows what is in store. It is really scary especially thinking about the future. I feel if we can at least help one in such a state then the fear in our heart will be a bit less.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      I love this poem Victoria, very touching.

      voting up.

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      A very powerful poem. I enjoyed reading this.

      Voting up

    • Victoria Lynn profile image
      Author

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Nice comments, shampa. Yes, who knows what is in store? Catching a glimpse can be fearful until we learn more. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image
      Author

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Movie Master and Rosemay50--Thanks for the votes up! Much appreciated!

    • makusr profile image

      Manoj Kumar Srivastava 5 years ago from India

      Victoria, That was a moving poem and it sure affects one who reads and understands it. When we see something the fear of going there lurks. You have brought this beautifully in your poem. Love your style as your your stylus makes a lasting impression.

      With warm wishes,

      MAKUSR

    • Escobana profile image

      Escobana 5 years ago from Valencia

      So beautiful! Sometimes I sit and watch people passing by. Old or young. I could almost see the old woman in your poem...You have quite a talent!

      Voted up and away! Shared as well:-)

    • lbramos profile image

      Luis Bivar Ramos 5 years ago from Porto, Portugal

      Great poem! Loved it!

      Regards

      Luis

    • Maralexa profile image

      Marilyn Alexander 5 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

      This is a very beautiful poem. It is very insightful and extremely moving. You held me throughout -- I wonder if, by relating so closely with your thoughts expressed in this poem, that I will have less lonely times as I grow older. What I mean is, if this beautiful woman (in your mind) understood what you are saying here, she must have left you with feelings of hope and love. Thank you, Victoria.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image
      Author

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Thanks, MAKUSR. Very true what you say about our fears. I appreciate your insightful comments.

      Escobana--I'm glad you could see the woman. That means a lot. Thanks!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image
      Author

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Thanks, Ibramos! Appreciate it!

      Maralexa--what beautiful and kind words! I hadn't really thought about the poem giving hope, but perhaps you're right. Thanks for your insightful comments!

    • Capedium profile image

      Capedium 5 years ago from Texas.

      Nice.. Just voted up beautiful..... I like the concert, could it be me..

    • Victoria Lynn profile image
      Author

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Capedium--I'm glad you liked the poem. I think the concept rings true in a lot of issues we face in life, including old age--Could It Be Me? Yeah, it's a reality that it could.... Thanks for your comments. And the votes!

    • profile image

      Desireé 5 years ago

      Wow!! Thoroughly and completely moved me. It brought tears to my eyes and that my fine poetic friend...is what poetry is all about. You evoked such empathetic emotio w/ in me. Thank you for your lovely talent :)

    • Victoria Lynn profile image
      Author

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Thanks, Desiree! Your words touch me. I'm so glad you connected with the poem. That makes me feel really good. :-)

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Victoria, I liked the ending of for her or for me. I suspect for both, an empathy which adds to our humanity. Up and joining the rest of the scoring.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image
      Author

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Perspycacious--I suspect for both as well. I appreciate the comment. Thanks for the votes, too!

    • honeybee2u profile image

      honeybee2u 4 years ago from PNG

      This is so beautiful I could see my grandmother in the words you used, and myself to be one day.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image
      Author

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      honeybee--Glad this touched you. Thanks so much!!!

    • profile image

      youthfulecho 4 years ago

      Poetry as art should flow as though your pallett carresses the canvas with your words and thoughts this you have done deftly. You are an artist and illuminate us with your skills and articulation. Thank you.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image
      Author

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Wow, youthfulecho, I love your comment. It is so poetic!!!

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