To the dear lady I love: A poem by Judy Wilson

People coo over plump babies; the soft
unlined skin of a young child seems to
ask to be caressed. Firm, flexible, and
smooth are the bodies of the young,
and much admired.

But I, I am drawn
to the faces and bodies of the old.
To me,
they tell a story more fascinating than
the faces of the young.

For the young are like blank paper,
no lines, no tales to tell.
But the old are well-worn pages of living history,
some sad, some adventurous, some joyous,
all triumphant in their victory of life.

I see in the bent, gnarled fingers the days of cooking,
cleaning, nursing, loving with a gentle touch.
I see the hands: strong to work and serve.
I see the feet, swollen now but once so quick to dance,
to skip in games with children, to run to greet the loved one.

The body is bent and flabby now.
It grew bent with honest hard work,
bravely faced, conquered, enjoyed.
Then, oh then, the face.
Lined, like a crumpled brown bag.
But not empty. No. Never empty.

The eyes mirror all emotions the body knew.
The eyes have seen tragedy and happiness, too.
Through the eyes have passed many years of exciting events,
to be recorded forever in the brain and heart of the old,
and passed on by the lips to the young.

The lips. Teaching.
Whispering tender things. Exploding in anger.
Sweetly asking forgiveness.
Kissing away hurts. Receiving kisses in return in love.

Oh, I love to look at older ones. They have lived!

Editor’s Note: The Clarkston News received this poem in its original type-written form. We are told the author was moved to write this for a friend in 1978 who was turning 81 at the time. The author is now 83 years old and suffers from arthritis.

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