When We Are Old

Joe Gegan nonsensesociety.com

Joe Gegan   nonsensesociety.com

When we are old
we begin to contemplate the future
something it would have been good
for us to do while we were young
   But you know youth
It has no patience with contemplation
Everything is all about the moment
and when the moment is past
Well it’s already another moment
      Yesterday is irrelevant
      Tomorrow inconsequent
         Now where was I
When we are old
we begin to contemplate the future
Weigh what we think our quality of life
will be in 10 years or 5 years or 6 months
   Hell let’s be honest
Do you really want to end up in a
nursing home wearing diapers staring
out the window at passing cars waiting
for someone you can’t even remember
to come read to you about your options?
      Heaven seems to be attractive
      Hell being no viable alternative
         As I was saying
When we are old
we begin to contemplate the future

“I will lie at the bottom of the desert
for a thousand years.
I will wait there until a young archaeologist
comes to dig for me,
unwraps the leathery ball of my head
and sweeps the sand from my face with her delicate brush.” ~ Billy Collins


About Peter Notehelfer

I'm a retired people person who now finds the time to watch the little details of the world without worrying about being watched by anyone . . . I live on an Island north of Seattle with my wife named Ellen, a yellow dog named McGee, a yellow cat named Gatzby, and four fine chickens . . . I read fiction, bake bread, smoke salmon, and fish whenever the weather allows . . . Oh, and yes, I try to write a poem every day simply to avoid senility!
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10 Responses to When We Are Old

  1. rivrvlogr says:

    Never one for this, seeing it as “doom and gloom,” I now see these thoughts creeping in from time to time. The past always seemed “long ago,” but now I look back twenty years and wonder if I have twenty more. I know twenty may seem like a lot to my elders, but when I consider I’ve already reached or passed the longevity of my paternal sires going back four generations, I wonder.


    • Have spent years unwilling to look at the reality of aging, always figuring ‘Well, that’s not going to happen to me!’ At least I’ll face the wheel`chair, the pampers, the nursing care with equanimity and grace, trusting that my good memories will see me through the valley of the shadow, as they say. It is not the dying I fear as much as the final lap of indignity, of loneliness, of incompetence and incontinence . . . From time to time a reality check is good for us old timers . . .

      Liked by 1 person

  2. now that I feel ancient, I’m afraid I can’t remember old


  3. Cheryl Ruffing says:

    I like the form and playfulness of the poem, Peter—and the Billy Collins quote. (I’m glad I discovered him a few years ago in the midst of my 365-day photography project based on poetry.) Oh, but where were we? Oh yes, your poem: all I can say is: Thank goodness for the playfulness because it’s depressing as hell.


  4. HemmingPlay says:

    Reblogged this on HemmingPlay and commented:
    It’s a glorious morning, sunny and not-too-hot. But you youngsters won’t get this one. You will, some day, if you’re lucky enough to survive your youth. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the ‘re`blog’! A ‘sour note’ to some; but to others ‘the ring of truth & familiarity’ . . .

      Liked by 1 person

      • HemmingPlay says:

        Life unfolds until the last moment, and as I’ve gotten old(er) (I’m 67), I’ve had to learn how to dwell on the future and not on the miserable bits, of which there have been plenty. It feels like a kind of victory, somehow, and that was what spoke to me in your piece. Getting old ain’t for sissies. :-)

        Liked by 1 person

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