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Turning Seventy-Five
Signe Eklund Schaefer


I will soon be three quarters of a century.
A pig-tailed sprite next-door heard seventy-five
and exploded, Wow, that’s old!
She is right, of course,
and it set me pondering.
I can now view one hundred years
without straining fantasy,
feel a century roll right through me.
When I hear other elders complain
and, even more,
when fifty-somethings speak their dread,
I find myself wondering,
What’s wrong with being old?
There is culmination here,
and treasure.
I know, of course, the aching joints,
the awkward rising from a couch,
and faulty memory and painful loss,
but what I also see so clearly
are the gifts
that needed the polish of years,
the gentle laughs and generosity.
With grace the old grow golden hearts
shaped by joys and sorrows lived,
by pains and inner gains
all finely cured
in time’s slow fire.

© by Signe Eklund Schaefer.
Used with the author’s permission.


Signe Eklund Schaefer's articles and poems have appeared in several anthologies and journals and she is the author of four books, most recently, I Give You My Word - Women’s Letters as Life Support, 1973-1987. Signe has lived and taught in many different countries, always pondering the mysteries of human life and development. Now retired, she has rediscovered the joy of inviting poems to express daily moments and memories. Signe lives in western Massachusetts with her husband of more than 50 years.






Post New Comment:
I am moved by this lovely, expressive poem. I'll soon be 70; this poem resonates with me and my mindset.
Posted 10/10/2021 10:47 PM
"With grace the old grow golden hearts" - how lovely - how I wish!
Posted 10/10/2021 06:35 PM
Lori Levy:
Beautiful and balanced expression of everything involved in getting old.
Posted 10/10/2021 05:43 PM
Posted 10/10/2021 02:01 PM
Oh, yes. "the gifts/that needed the polish of years," Yes, for sure.
Posted 10/10/2021 11:41 AM
Last week I swam three breaststroke events at the Huntsman Senior Word Games at age 85 and earned two silver medals and a fourth place. I love being old.
Posted 10/10/2021 11:11 AM
Darrell Arnold:
I got there on July 14th. My wife threw me a big bash. It was great. Thanks to the VA, I've got new hips and new lenses in my eyes. Life is great. Most people tell me I don't look my age. Clean living. I don't cut the younger ones 40s, 50s, and 60s any slack when they complain about getting old. I just laugh at them. Embrace it and keep moving forward. Let others do the worrying. There's no time for such foolishness in my life. Every day is a new adventure. I'm living an interesting life.
Posted 10/10/2021 09:06 AM
Larry Schug:
In six moons I'll be there, too. I love the idea and the triumph of being old even though I consider myself to be "terminally immature". It's still all about having fun. I value the honesty expressed in this poem, the acceptance of age and being "finely cured. How fortunate we are to have reached this point.
Posted 10/10/2021 07:28 AM
Hear, hear! Here's to old age and your wonderful poem celebrating it! Love "time's slow fire". So suggestive and feels just right as the ending.
Posted 10/10/2021 07:25 AM

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