Without ever meaning it to happen this way, I’ve noticed an unintended theme cropping up in my posts. Two days ago, I wrote a post titled Aging Sucks. Other posts related to some aspect of aging have been posted here with regularity. Most of these posts have an original poem attached to them, and many of those poems offer a light-hearted approach to the topic of aging.
For day eight of National Poetry Month, I’ve chosen another poem from my personal archives. Yes, this poem is about aging and unless you’re twenty years or younger, I think you’ll identify with what I’ve written.
Hearing of the death of Mickey Rooney this week (at the age of 93), I contemplated what a nonagenarian’s attitude might be toward aging. To use a scientific term, they are (at that age) nearing the state of maximum entropy (death). When I hear the term being in God’s waiting room applied to people of advanced years, I flinch … not because I fear death, but because my mind brings up an unpleasant image of a physician’s waiting room where people are destined to interminable monotony and anxiety waiting to see a doctor. Ugh!
Am I obsessed with aging? It’s a fair question. Perhaps a better one to ask: is our culture obsessed with aging? In my view, the answer has to be Yes! Whole industries are built around maintaining one’s youth. Businesses devoted to nip/tuck, paint/repaint, yoga/cardio/weight training activities proliferate our cities. Diet gurus, exercise coaches and health specialists have spread their doctrines to anyone paying the least attention.
Addressing my question (am I obsessed with aging?), I think the abundance of my poems pertaining to age and aging has come about because the subject is such a bountiful gold-mine to explore. I’ll not deny that as I’ve aged, I’ve come to understand more clearly how our bodies are designed to age and eventually die. When I write, it’s not unusual to find a new and different metaphor with which to dress this topic.
This particular poem leans on the image of a snake for its visual symbol of aging. Long after I originally penned the poem, I realized it’s a fitting symbol since aging and death were initially introduced to humanity through the crafty enticements of a Serpent. (Read the details yourself in Genesis 3.)