Until I was
Nearly fifty
I rarely thought
Of age

But now
As I approach
Becoming
An elder
I find I want
To give all
That I know
To youth.

Those who sit
Skeptical
With hooded
Eyes
Wondering
If there really
Is
A path ahead
& Whether
There really
Are
Elders
Upon it

Yes. We are there
Just ahead
Of you.

The path you are on
Is full of bends
Of crooks
Potholes
Distracting noises
& Insults
Of all kinds.

The path one is on
Always is.

But there we are,
Just out of view
Looking back
Concerned
For you.

I see my dearest
Friend
At fifty-one
Her hair
Now
An even
Steel.
She blushes much
& talks
Of passion:
It cannot be
For the bourgeois
Husband
I never
Liked.

I thought life
With him
Had killed
The wild-haired girl
I knew.
But no.
There she is
There she goes.
Blushing.
Eldering.

I too talk
Stunned
Of love
Passion
Grace of mating
At last
With
My soul’s
Valiant twin.

Oh youth!

I find
I do not have it in
My heart
To let
You stumble
On this curve
With fear.

Know this:
Surprise alone
Defines this time
Of more than growth:
Of distillation
Ripeness
Enjoyment
Of being
On the vine.

–Alice Walker

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