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How to be Happy in Old Age
Christine Swanberg

for Howard Orr
Refer to Pavarotti as your friend.
Listen to him often.
Try to live the way he sings.
Give everyone A’s in everything.
Never be afraid of your hair
or what others might say about it.
Prefer levity to pomposity.
Make up wonderful lies
especially to stupid questions.
Love good food and drink.
Cook marvelously.
Carry a rusty briefcase
or a red knapsack.
Make satirical weathervanes.
Wear outrageous socks.

From The Alleluia Tree (The Puddin’head Press, 2012).
Used here with the author’s permission.



Christine Swanberg is the author of five books of poetry. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies and the 2008 Poet's Market features an in-depth interview with Christine. Retired after 35 years of teaching high school, college and graduate school, she now enjoys writing essays, teaching residencies, being active in her community, gardening, singing, and swimming. When she's not traveling the world with her husband of 40 years, Christine lives in Rockford, Illinois.



Post New Comment:
I really like outrageous socks or maybe none at all.
Posted 05/24/2014 09:34 PM
Yes! I am putting this one in my red knapsack. Thank you :)
Posted 05/22/2014 10:22 AM
This is great!!
Posted 05/22/2014 08:25 AM
Hilarious and wonderfully freeing!
Posted 05/22/2014 05:09 AM
Ross Kightly:
Likewise, involvement with a number of people in the local area who are in their 80s and 90s attests to the sublime good sense of this poem's recommendations. In the not too distant future I shall be returning to these! Thank you both, Jayne and Christine!
Posted 05/22/2014 12:32 AM
I have a 92-year-old friend who could likely attest to most of these. He's the ultimate diplomant, a man of great grace and charm. This is really a lovely lesson for life at any age. I will print this one out as a keeper!
Posted 05/21/2014 11:10 PM

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