This Face

Growing older is a wonderful thing, especially when one considers the alternative. Growing old is not altogether the same. None of us want to be old except, again, when considering that alternative. I am reminded of the saying, “I want to go to heaven, but not today.” It is easy to consider any age as “old”—until you get that age. It seems that even one year younger than your age is young and just one year older is old. Is it all relative? Not entirely. Some people get old early in their years and others are lively until they die. Then there is that infernal labeling. Time was when I labeled anyone 25 as a fully grown, mature adult—a state I could only aspire to. It now seems so young. Now others label me. “What? Past 50? That’s old. Could never consider anyone that old.” Fair enough. I did it too. I’ve taken good care of my body except for the injuries I acquired through the rather aggressive lifestyle I have chosen. But I am able to live well with those. It’s this face that gets me. How could it change so much? Sometimes the poet in me will not be still…

This Face

My face is going away
Now a cluttered patchwork of separate pieces
It’s all full of marks, wrinkles, and creases
And does not say what it used to say.

I could try to make it the one it used to be
Have a doctor pull it sideways up down and tight
But when was a mask ever right
I think I’ll stick with me and love whomever I see.

Ray Kenneth Clark

December 27 ·

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