Monday, March 28, 2011

Seventy Years and Counting...

It was the best sort invitation from a dear friend in Pennsylvania, asking me-and other friends- to send cards to her parents in April in celebration of their 70th wedding anniversary. Seventy years! It absolutely takes my breath away, especially since i will never even know the joy of celebrating 25 years with the same man. Seventy years! It nearly stops my heart to contemplate it...

Two marriages have been part of my life...the first ending after a mere 12 years with the untimely death of my young husband at age thirty-seven; the second ending after 14 years with a divorce when that husband decided i was no longer the person to whom he wanted to be married. That marriage ended in 1994, and in the intervening years- seventeen years, to be exact- i have not been in a relationship with a man. Not complaining, you understand- just acknowledging. 

Sometimes the lack of a partner has been hard...and i have experienced a longing for which words seem inadequate- though as a poet and wordsmith, i have tried. Occasionally, the lack of physical contact has brought out a longing in me which some might find unseemly in a woman nearing seventy years of her own. But other times, i have found that the single life can have deep meaning, especially when i keep myself open to the many gifts life still holds for me...especially when i see the many couples struggling to hold it together over the long haul...especially when half of all marriages end in divorce... 

But when i think of Charlie and Margaret and their seventy years, i admit to a deep and abiding envy, even as i send them my deep and abiding love. 

(written a couple of years ago)
honest reflection...
I have longed- for years- for a
man in my willing to see
and love all of me...who would
accept and cherish the broken
person I really am...
but at sixty-seven, I have
pretty much convinced myself-
and accepted- that this will
never, ever happen.
And so, a piece of my heart
is broken...lying in wait for
love's true breath to bring it
back to restore it to
full health...

Yet I cannot lie in deep
mourning for long. Life is
too lovely...the birds sing, the
sun rises, the violets and azaleas
bloom; a stranger at the deli
counter speaks with delight about
finding blouses she loves at
half-price, and the hairnet-topped
woman behind the counter
waits on me with a smiling
countenance, offering her kind
benediction- "Have a blessed day."

I who have so much-
I who want for nothing-
I who have never been truly
   hungry or without a place
   to lay my head-
I who can walk and talk and think-
   how can I complain of lack?

Yet- if I am to be completely
honest- I carry a bereftness
deep within...a sense of wanting
something more...
   which is perhaps the reason
    I seek God...                    

(written earlier this year)
ecstatic longing
my body aches for love's
sweet touch, not felt
for seventeen long years

i know- a woman my age is
not supposed to yearn for
the sweep of passion's wave,
much less confess the
longings of my body
and my aching heart
the height and depth and breadth
and soaring, breath-catching
emotion reserved for the young-
or at least younger

but, i confess,
my body aches for just
one more moment of
sweeping ecstasy

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