Literary Hook: Poem: Turning 60 can give you pause

By Christine Swanberg
Author and Poet

Birthdays have never bothered me. That is until last year, when I turned 60. There’s something about being 10 years over the halfway mark of a century that gives pause.

One day, I was feeling wistful about getting older and having to deal with the losses and adjustments the years have brought. Then, my husband said something that at first struck me as denial, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. A poem came out of it. This poem was recently published in Plainsongs.


Once my husband said,

“You can’t lose something

if you already had it,”

which struck me the same way

“You want to have your cake

and eat it, too” always did;

but today, I think I see:

Everything you have ever had

is still there within you.

You do “take it with you.”

Isn’t it right that the jet fuel

of desire simmers down a bit?

Isn’t it right that a cornucopia

of realized dreams is sustenance enough?

Isn’t it right that today you

have already walked the dawn,

a crescent moon in the indigo sky,

frost on grass you gingerly tread

in your sturdy white walking shoes?

And next, the sun, as always.

Christine Swanberg has published about 300 poems in 70 journals and anthologies. Her books include Who Walks Among the Trees with Charity (Wind Publishing, Kentucky), The Red Lacquer Room (Chiron Publishing, Kansas), The Tenderness of Memory (Plainview Press, Texas) and Slow Miracle (Lakeshore Publishing, Illinois).

From the Dec. 8-14, 2010 issue

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