On Turning Seventy

Sunrising from my red enamel shoebox, I
Walk forth! To announce
That it is half-past middle age.
Come with me;
Stoke the mind and move the body.
Fresh as a morning decision,
Or a color not yet named,
Like chartreuse, or violet, but neither.
Time is my roll of ribbon
Spinning out toward a brand-new world
Of little universes,
Of stars and stubborn angels,
Because we have surely spent this one.
I admit, I do better in this liminal state,
I’m more present when I’m not so sure.
Spare me your certainties:
I will be the light through two trees,
The feather in the wind,
The name out of mind, and
The smile that remains.

Marilyn Mathis
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  1. Mary Kay Jackman

    I like the contrast of walking out in red shoes (confidence) right into uncertainty that turning seventy brings to all who walk that far. Marilyn has written a poem that readers may return to time and again and sense something they may have missed the first time.

  2. Linda Garrett

    I enjoyed this poem very much. I especially like the last few phrases that say we don’t have to have certainty to be meaningful. And that age doesn’t have to be a limit.

  3. Shera Darby

    Your lovely, sunny poem encouraged me and made me less fearful of life at 70. In fact, for a short moment I found myself wishing it would arrive sooner. Well done!

  4. Carolyn Knudsen

    Having just passed 76, the image of stoking the mind and moving the body, an unexpected reversal, was most evocative! I was also taken with the image of time as a ribbon. What hope that gives: life will continue to be beautiful as satin unfurling!

  5. Sammye Conway

    Marilyn Mathis has done it again. Her words have touched my heart with honesty and love. In this poem, she expresses the nuances of turning seventy with joy and fearless abandon despite the uncertainty of what may lie ahead. This is such a refreshing sentiment in a world that idealizes the cult of youthfulness above all else. I hope to read more from this talented author.

  6. Joan Alcorn

    Marilyn’s poem does not evoke a feeling of growing old, rather a feeling of floating into a new dimension filled with awakenings, wonder and renewal. Her words, thoughts and emotions are taken to the ethereal realm. It goes without saying that she is a gifted writer.

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