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This year 1000 Americans will live to be over 100 – Lauris Edmond

August 19, 2015

This year 1000 Americans will live to be over 100

Age is
trying to wipe a streak of sunlight off the bench
in the early morning kitchen

meeting ghosts in the garden who lounge in the grass
at half forgotten picnics, still idly remarking
on the fragrance of jasmine in a late spring cluster
hanging over the fence

it is practising an expansive smile
at faces you’ve never seen that glow with recognition
and chatter about familiar occasions

it’s knowing more than your confident daughters
but pretending to less
as they learn the small cynicisms and reduced hopes
you took into yourself long ago

it’s keeping quiet when bossy people get their facts wrong.

Age is losing old friends
by a curious process, neither betrayal nor bitterness, but
a strangely lackadaisacal failure of attention

it’s wriggling your body and soul into a moment of silence
til you fit perfectly on a hot afternoon in the house,
a yellow rose freshly picked, nothing happening
as though this is your first, last, and oh exquisite
single day;

age is knowing how much more than wind is the wind
dark and crying in the pine trees
high on the hill, how much larger and hotter than sun
is the sun
dancing madly on the polished taupata leaves

how the dark is filled with light
and the morning with slivers of afternoon
because everything is packed into nothing,
almost nothing, the quick thing
you can’t take your eyes off for a second
in case it gets away.

Ref: pp.32-33 Lauris Edmond (2000) Late Song. Auckland: Auckland University Press

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