A CERTAIN AGE

Standard

“Colors are the deeds and sufferings of light.”
—Goethe

It has been said the weather is bright blue
this time of year.  A tinge of cobalt cools
the contours, copper trembles, sounding true.
Red and golden maple leaves, the motley fools,
die dancing on a breeze of nevermore.
Those who must learn go back to schools.

The year was started long before
this current, nearer to the final, page
of curling calendar behind the closet door;
yet blood, air, the purple-kissed greengage
belie that paper rubric and bestir unnerving
promise in what’s more than come of age.

Cliché favors youth, the tight uncurving
blade of spring, bronze beauty at the beach,
the summer’s salad days all undeserving.
And youth favors cliché, believing each
grey hint of winter is a closing down,
smug in its grasp of things beyond its reach.

We’ve been there.  Now we’re here, my frown,
searching a spattered mirror for small clues
to an unsettling ripening.  We grope for nouns
to name it—for the way so many hues
exquisitely become a potent reticence of brown.
.
.
A CERTAIN AGE

19 responses »

  1. I enjoyed following the path your thoughts took through these lines Cynthia: very persuasive to me! and there are some delightful resting places along the track (‘cliché favors youth’ for example, or ‘smug in its grasp of things beyond its reach’ and ‘an unsettling ripening’ – brilliant!).
    I admire the tight craftsmanship too – unobtrusive and very effective!

    • Many misgivings on this one, John. Not about this week’s poem, (weird me, I like it!) but about whether to bother blogging it. As has been the case all along, you come through with encouraging words. Thank you so much.

  2. Hi Cynthia, this terrific poem spoke to me immediatly because of the colours, kobalt, copper, the beauty of autumn. We can’t go back to the summer of youth, so it is good to know that there is still something to lookforward to!

  3. You deliberated over blogging this?! What we would have missed Cynthia! I wish I could write like this.

    There are so many phrases in this that I love, I might as well simply repeat the whole poem.

    “We’ve been there. Now we’re here…”, yes, indeed we are. I dont carevhow brown it gets Im going to
    make the most of !! 😊.

    • Dear Christine, I love your enthusiasm. ( think that word is from the Greek meaning something like “filled with a God”). Reading your generous comment, I’m glad I did decide to post Thank you!

  4. I love how you weaved the passage of colours through our lives, Cynthia my dear.

    Alas, they all fade in time to sepia memories and soon that too, blinks out —- black. But not the end my dear. For me, it’s the Interlude (remember them?) as the projectionist kills the light before threading a new reel of film.

    With bated breath, I wait in the dark, for light to flicker back to life with new adventures and promises of full, bright and bold colours.

    What a show 🙂

    Peace and blessings,
    Eric the Optimist

    • Well, I appreciate your comment, dear Eric the Optimist, and do love your optimism about “the afterlife”. At odd moments I could even believe along with you. But then there are those other odd moments when I’m not so sure. Let’s hope that, in the end, believing is seeing.

    • Would you believe this one all started as I stared bleary-eyed after a rigorous session with my watercolor palette and noticed what was happening there….I truly appreciate your stopping by, Sarah, and thank you for the two wonderfuls!

  5. This is a beautiful poem. I read it several times to make sure that I didn’t miss some of the lovely subtleties woven into it. I suppose we are all destined to perceive autumn as a precursor to an ending; but I like this poem because it isn’t sad. I read pleasure in the perception of autumn’s palette of color. I’m so glad that you paint watercolors they glow through your poem. Cheerio Jane

    • Hello Jane—I’m so glad you see that this one isn’t sad. There is indeed a kind of bittersweet beauty to Autumn, I think. It’s always been my favorite season, here in New England. Thank you for your astute attention to the poem, and for such a lovely comment.
      ( by the way I love your signature “Cheerio!”)

    • It’s true our own seasons don’t always match the weather (and how we feel doesn’t match how others see us). I find Autumn energizing, and spring enervating..weariness has the upper hand just now. A most curious thing, this aging. Sometimes I wish my grandparents, parents, could come back, if only for afternoon tea…..they would nod and say “See? See what it’s like?” And I could say “Yes, yes I see. I had no idea….”

      A special treat to find your comment here this morning (your afternoon), John. Thank you. 🙂

  6. Having just read TS Eliot’s Animula on the Sweetenorbull together with the discussion there, suddenly I’m struck the parallels: of themes principally, and something of those relaxed cadences; yours is slightly less gloomy though and humour keeps breaking in. Congratulations Cynthia.

    • It is so interesting to me that you see those parallels, John, though I certainly blush to have any poem of mine compared to one of the great Eliot.
      I’ve been to read the discussion at Sweettenorbull and enjoyed it very much. As we both know, there’s more than one way to skin a cat and interpret a poem—making the whole enterprise more interesting and enjoyable.
      As for humor, I believe you have, once or twice, accused me of being practically unable to leave it out! 🙂

    • Hi John…It so happens that this is the poem I chose as the title poem for my book (which should be a physical reality in another week or so). Working with the book-jacket designer has been interesting…but “A Certain Age” and Sheila’s tulip photo look pretty good together, I think. I’m glad you find this poem worth re-reading!
      I think of you way over there in NZ and trust your sojourn is being a felicitous one. 🙂

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