On Turning Fifty-One
Some they wear their hearts pinned to soft
sleeves for all to see and break. But not me.
I keep my heart in my pant’s front pocket
a’jingling in there among the copper coins.
I made this decision early, early in the spring
of my life as I lay wrapped in a patchwork quilt
my grandmother stitched with anxious hands.
From the turntable Judy Collins sang Suzanne
and I feared I might die such was the bloom
of words and music and being fifteen and alive.
That afternoon I vowed my affections only
to such half-crazies with their tea and oranges.
So I pocketed my heart and kept close to the river.
Here now in the early, early autumn of my life
my heart is almost indistinguishable from the
worthless change I carry along with my name.
Silver and gold have I none, never have. But such
as I have I give – my coppered heart a’jingling
token of my travels along the banks of love, of
words and music and being fifty-one and alive.
Having been fifty-one myself, a couple of decades and some ago, I’d say from experience that you’re on a good track, John. Just keep enlarging that pocket so there is always room in it for a chanced-upon talisman and your ever-growing heart.
Beautiful! Your words brought sharp little tears to my eyes for how beautifully written this is. Please put more of this into the world.
Beautiful, the movement and the contrast and the images and the memories ! So good to find you here this morning John. Thank you.
Happy Birthday, John. And thanks for the gift of this loveliness.
“my coppered heart”–yes and more yes, from one who is “double nickels” herself. Keep catching those poems when they drop out of the sky and land on your keyboard.
Happy, Happy Birthday! Your words are always a gift to my senses…
So so glad you’re back! Have been missing you…and happy early, early autumn. It’s a good time for you, I hope.
Happy birthday, John. I have been so missing your words. So glad to read them.
Happy birthday, John! We love to see you sharing your beautiful poetic heart here. It’s a joy to read them. Blessings on your day and year ahead. ?