Thursday, July 27, 2017

A poem for a summer morning in the late autumn of life

Here is a poem from today's online edition of The Writer's Almanac.

Entitled "Brothers at the Reunion" and written by Athena Kildegaard, the poem resonates with me on this fine summer morning in the late autumn of my life.

I have no comments on the merits of the poet's technical or aesthetic artistry. I leave those considerations to people who are poetry experts. Instead, as an old man standing near the exit sign, I tell you that I very much like the poem, and I invite you to read the poem and offer whatever comments suit your fancy.

The old men stood below the exit sign
laughing and cussing as though they were
in a well-lit bar—though they’d all
given up drink years before. They cussed

for the electricity of the words. Some, widowers
who hadn’t kissed a woman in years, stroked
the air with their hands. They didn’t touch
one another. The one holdout blew smoke

away from their privacy. They did not talk
of faith—these men whose father had been
a deacon—they disagreed. Instead they told
the old stories about creek beds and whippings

and snakes in mailboxes. And jokes featuring
viagra and gravity. Their laughter bound them,
that and a loss of faith in their bodies,
though desire hammered there still.

"Brothers at the Reunion" by Athena Kildegaard from Bodies of Light. © Red Dragonfly Press, 2011


  1. I like the camaraderie expressed in the poem, Tim. And yet, there's a wistfulness there, too, that I think adds to it.

  2. Wistfulness is the right word, Margot. It reminds me that getting old ain't for the cowardly.

  3. wistful is the best descriptor... also pretty accurate portrayal of your average human in his 8th decade... i like the freeway of life image; watching for the next off-ramp...

    1. Yes, Mudpuddle, especially with those reduced speed limits on the off-ramps.