Elder Face

My head aches,

the bones in my hand throb,

their stories of punishment

coming out in skeletal code;

an icy fog covers the valley

and as I struggle to rise

from the dream depth into now

the face of an elder

looks back across the room,

etched with years of solitude,

unflinching, no expectation,

pain a part of each wrinkle,

a deeper joy burning from within,

startling me with the awareness

of who I am becoming.


"Grandmother Moon" by Dirk, Blackfoot, Friends of Red Lodge, Dream Time Series





17 Responses to “Elder Face”

  1. Marco says:

    You are becoming a fine old geezer! Love this one – laden with weight and light with promise. Speaks to me of entry into a new dimension of meaning and activity …

  2. Lloyd Meeker says:

    It’s a strange metamorphosis, isn’t it, Don? Sometimes I’m astonished at what I’m becoming — just as you describe. In some reverse petrification, molecules of stone in my heart are being replaced by some unknown substance, softer, far more fragile, more alive, deliciously temporary.

    Thank you…

  3. Sandy Jensen says:

    This strikes a universal chord among our generation! I feel like a reverse butterfly, disappearing backward into the chrysalis goo. This poem is in spiritual alignment with my Giantess poem–leaning back into the old person I am becoming and accepting her different beauty as you lean into the elder face and try on that new mask (mask as in Native Coast Art mask, not as in Western hide-your-face mask–two different meanings).
    Exactly right!

  4. Pichay says:

    Not to worry–any of you! One key is to not accept “old” and “aging” and other words/attitudes that actually “age” you! When asked, “how old are you?’ My pat reply is, “I’m not!” I’m 69yrs young. I play soccer moves with my 5yr nephew. I play half-court basketball yet. Do my bones ache at times? Yes! But I think they enjoy the stretching!

    The aspect of elderhood I enjoy the most is the many stories I have to share from a life fully, and adventurously lived! What I notice when I watch a video programme of as indigenous peoples, is the vibrant spark of light in the eyes of the elders!

  5. Athena Coleman says:

    This curtain of age doesn’t so much descend upon me, but parts as I enter into it. The hard-won wisdom that was learned in my youth, now becomes the truth of my being as I am charged to prove out this knowledge in my life now. I find that it is simply a deepening of the love I’ve always known.
    Thank you for the beautiful words of your experience of this process.

  6. Bill Dare says:

    I’m vibrating with you in Elder energy, my Brother.

  7. Eilish says:

    What a beautiful poem dad. It makes me feel so sentimental about your elder years.love, e

  8. Katherine O,,,Neill says:

    “a deeper joy burning from within” much more accessible than it was before I was 87, I say with gratitude. Thanks for your beautiful words in expressing this truth. I could repeat Athena Coleman’s words exactly, too.

  9. T Johansson says:

    Beyond words, Don… wisdom wrapped, brilliant.

  10. maria says:

    So many life transitions – and there am I among them playfully pulling out a new costume from the dress-up box. Thank you Don and fellow elders. And to Pichay, perhaps this is different for women, but I have found it liberating instead to say, “Yes, I am old”. To feel the freedom of not hiding from that and to honour its worth.

  11. David Banner says:

    Spoken like a conscious elder!(smile)

    Love, David

  12. Sarah Hanson says:

    My little grand daughter touches my face and asks me, ‘Nana, what are those things?’ Wrinkles, only a few…..She opens my mouth and touches my teeth, ‘Nana, what are those things?’ Crowns, only a few……She touches my neck, ‘Nana, what is this?’ A mole, not very large……’Are you very old, Nana?’ Not very, I think, but I am aging/changing and I notice this, and I embrace the changes. ‘I love you, Nana.’ Thank you Don……just beautiful and so true………

  13. Bob Weaver says:

    “Go not far from me, Oh,God, in the time of age. Forsake me not, forsake me not when my strength faileth me.”

    Keep the faith, Don!

  14. Jude says:

    Don I just had a birthday.
    Elder face is grinning at me tonight when I pass the long patio door tonight.
    I appreciate your poem, your journal on the journey.

  15. Nancy Rose Meeker says:

    “unflinching, no expectation” – speaks volumes… WHAT a long road it is to that place!

    Nancy Rose

  16. Bob Hollis says:

    Another poet about 700 years ago or so wrote:
    So make the most of what you yet may spend
    Before you too into the dust decend.
    Dust into dust, and under dust to lie
    Sans wine, sans song, sans singer…and sans end!

    I like wisdom, from then and now, and appreciate your musings about age, brother! A year ago, I went on a “jazz cruise” to celebrate my 80 years. And it did a good job. I love finding ways to celebrate aging.

  17. willow says:

    This is a beautiful poem , even more beautiful are the replies that it has inspired. xxx

Leave a Reply