Gray-Haired Woman

 

For Big Tent Poetry prompt: Something that’s been sitting for a while
http://bigtentpoetry.org

Gray-Haired Woman

Heard the song once, years ago.
Only remember few words from chorus:
“She’s a gray-haired woman, coming
into her own, coming into her own.”

Wondering what that meant, to come
into one’s own. Finally finding home,
or something else, something deeper?

Used to be a roamer, restless for change.
Rearranging path, exchanging destinations.
Now content to encourage others to dance.

Prefer staying where planted, slanting
view with little movement. Leaning into
familiar, finding comfort in own learning.

Pacing self, no longer racing toward
newness for newness’ sake. Taking
what is offered, giving back what
is mine to give, without over-extending.

Bending when I can, leaving quietly when
I can not. Simplicity has necessary ease,
which pleases as never before.

Am gray-haired woman, coming into my own.
Finding home within thin skin of life lived. No
chasing after happily ever-after, accepting
grace in certain contentment.

Elizabeth Crawford  5/6/11

Notes: Found this piece while looking through some files last week. Set it aside for a better look. Then found today’s prompt and knew what I would do. The poem was much longer, I cut the first two stanzas completely and about five or six other lines as well. Altered a few word choices. This version is more satisfying in a way, but am still not sure I actually like the thing. It may have to go through a few more revisions.

Advertisements

About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: http://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ https://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in Gray-Haired Woman and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Gray-Haired Woman

  1. vivinfrance says:

    I understand precisely where this poem is coming from. It chimes precisly with my own attitude towards ageing. I loved the phrase ” Leaning into
    familiar” and your characteristic internal rhymes.

    Viv, although I know this one is mine, when I first found it, I couldn’t remember where or when it had been created. It really is a good idea to let things sit for awhile and then come back to them with fresh eyes. Leaning into familiar was one of the lines in this that jumped out at me and that I knew would have to stay. Thanks for your comments,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  2. Loved this. It is an attitude I had to face long before it was due with the life changes in coming down with ME/cfs.

    We seem to have a lot in common besides our short stature, Anthony. I’ve been dealing with arthritis since I was seventeen. Paying now for what I chose to ignore back then. And I would have to agree, physical limitations bring their own form of wisdom, if we let them,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  3. Dick says:

    An eloquent and life-affirming testament to ageing, Elizabeth. A heartening declaration for all of us in the same territory.

    Dick, it was almost thirty years ago when I heard that song, then walked around for weeks humming the chorus and even singing it. It was my first contact with the concept that age had some built in rewards and dividends. I wanted to wrap that reality around myself, and eventually did. Really glad you like it,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  4. Mary says:

    Considering the alternative, Elizabeth, guess we all find some way to make positive what is inevitable! You have achieved that well in this poem.

    Lol, Mary, considering the alternative, I am amazed at how many bitter old men and women are out there, still pissed at the idea that they have to grow old. Thanks for your ever consistent encouragement and support.

    Elizabeth

    Like

  5. brenda w says:

    I love this Elizabeth. Wisdom and experience run through the lines.

    Oh Brenda, experience yes, but not sure it is wisdom. Perhaps forced slow down might be a better phrase and more true to reality. Thanks and glad you like it,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  6. Beautifully content! It’s not so bad to be a grayed haired woman!

    My sisters might not agree. One had to start dealing with gray when she was still in high school and now says she doesn’t think she has anything but white up there, and she’s the youngest. They always tease me because most of my gray is in the back where I can’t see it. Fine with me. When I heard the song I was in college and there was an artist who did chalk drawings while another woman sang the song. I bought the image for this song and taped it to the ceiling above my bed. The whole experience fascinated me. I’m glad I wrote the poem. I think I finally know deep down what it actually means, now. Thanks for your generous words and glad you enjoyed,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  7. Kat Mortensen says:

    Approaching 50 with a few gray hairs, I really identified with this. I like the repetition of “coming into her/my own”; that really emphasizes the recognition of self.

    Kat

    Welcome and thanks Kat. I remember wondering, back then, if I would ever come into my own, what that might be, or mean. Am glad for the song and my own fascination with it. Just wish I could find a recording of it. Maybe some day.

    Elizabeth

    Like

  8. pamelasayers says:

    Elizabeth, if we could all be so lucky to grow old. This made me think of those who don’t ever get the chance. Love the poem.

    Pamela

    Sorry it took you to a sad place, Pamela. But, also understand how that could happen. Thanks for visiting,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  9. Kim Nelson says:

    Oh, Elizabeth! You’ve written an anthem for a generation. So well done! I AM 51 and learning to embrace the beauty and wonder of aging, despite the physical malfunctions and discomforts. Perhaps without those, we would never get to the place you write about so perfectly.

    Kim, I really think that the slowing down serves many purposes, among them being the time and liesure to simply think and allow our thoughts to find their own path instead of hurrying off to take care of something else. Thank you for your very generous words,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  10. Hi Elizabeth, This has echoes of my own experience, putting the touch-up on the gray roots, new boss that wanted a younger staff, desperate women makeing appointments for dye job,
    The best of all is acceptance.
    The poem itself sings right along. I like those internal (slant?) rhymes. Not sure where you would want to cut, it hold together nicely.

    Thank you Marian. Am very glad you liked it. I did color my hair when it didn’t need it, and now don’t want to take the time and bother. I’m comfortable and that’s what really counts.

    Elizabeth

    Like

  11. This is really nice! The one suggestion I would make is to turn the first-person moments into third-person moments, since the poem seems stronger (and more relatable, perhaps) when you say “she” rather than “I”, “her” rather than “me”/”my”. I would specifically change “Bending when I can” to “…when possible” and the first line of the last stanza into “Gray haired woman, coming into her own.” Then the whole thing will be solid as a diamond. 🙂

    Joseph, thank you for your well thought out critique. I will definitely consider your suggestions if I do choose to revise it again.

    Elizabeth

    Like

  12. Linda says:

    This is a wonderful expression of aging gracefully.

    Linda, lol, thank you, but grace must be incredibaly slow if my movement is involved in anyway. I do understand what you are saying though and deeply appreciate your comments,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  13. versebender says:

    Liked this one a lot. A road map for how to handle this aging thing with grace and dignity. Vb

    Thanks Versebender, I’ll try to remember that the next time I’m at the store on a battery operated scooter and take out an entire end stand. I think the speed goes to my head, lol. Am glad you liked it and appreciate your thoughts and comments,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  14. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE this poem and relate to it completely. The ease of simplicity, the evading of all the angst and drama of younger years, choosing peace. A wonderful poem! I love it.

    Sherry, your enthusiasm is the most wonderful shot in the arm. Doesn’t ever hurt in the least bit. Thank you my friend,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  15. Bending when I can, leaving quietly when
    I can not. Enjoyed this poem, especially loved that line!

    Jeanne, I used to think it was utterly important to push back when pushed. To make sure I had my say. Consequences of being an abuse victim. Part of the acceptance of which I speak, was in learning to leave that in the past. Doesn’t mean I won’t fight back, just means I choose my battles far more wisely now. Have even learned that leaving quietly can speak far more clearly than words. Glad you enjoyed the poem,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  16. Tumblewords says:

    Finely posed! I recognize the feelings in this piece – sometimes it’s a little difficult to settle into one’s own. 🙂

    Maybe because it takes so long to figure out just exactly what one’s own really is? Thanks Tumblewords, your words are deeply appreciated,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  17. Mr. Walker says:

    Elizabeth, there is beautiful language in here, and I like the structure of the stanzas, the remembered lyrics spawning thinking, then roaming, staying, pacing, bending, then coming back to the lyrics again, more personal. The “bending” stanza is my favorite.

    Richard

    Thank you Richard, it is sometimes amazing to me what other people find in what I write. Humbling as well,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  18. Great voice loaded with wisdom and a great read.

    Henry, thank you much and especially glad you enjoyed it,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  19. Laurie Kolp says:

    I love this beauty on acceptance… wise words to remember for sure!

    Thank you Laurie, glad to know you enjoyed it,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  20. Cathy says:

    Simple perfect!! especially the last stanza,

    Cathy, welcome and appreciate your comments,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  21. jinksy says:

    Taking
    what is offered, giving back what
    is mine to give, without over-extending.

    Wise words! I certainly over extended this week – went as far as going to my first Open Mic on Friday. Times, they are a changin’…

    Jinksy, I’ve done a few Open Mics but that was several years ago. Not sure how I’d do anymore. They are fun, many times, but can also be terribly frustrating. Finding the balance is just another part of the process. Didn’t really over extend this week, but it certainly feels like I did. Thanks for stopping by,

    Elizabeth

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s