Middle Age

A Poem

inaugurates a sudden compulsion
to support my local NPR station,
introduce more fiber into the diet,
lose enthusiasm for pop culture,
Google-search “frequent urination
prostate health” and worry
that I metamorphosized
into a constipated crank
during one of Ovid’s midnight
TP raids upon the psyche.

Middle age asks that I parent
in an empire of illusion, see
my children safely home
through a pandemic wood
full of conspiratorial carnivores,
wolves in women’s clothing,
baby-faced zealots sporting
legal assault rifles.

Middle age is the via media
of novice and notable,
as liable to streak in public
as laze about poolside.
Middle age is the trickster’s
creaky crawlspace, the art
of saving face, that bedeviled
in-between season where the hero
of the D&D campaign
faces the dreaded
colonoscopy.

Middle age says “No”
with ease, is dismissed
as outmoded, past-prime,
a has-been, dim
as mortality cuts in
to write whole chapters
(Misgivings, Maladies)
into the waning
biography.

Middle age is as bardic
and barbaric as the Middle Ages:
Zarathustra of the Mountain
gone mad with tenure, disaffected,
cynical, save for a late term dose
of grace-sprung wonder.

Middle age is the place where ego
yields its whaling harpoon, ceases
all strife, the place where love
is mistaken for losing,
the place where even God
gives His life away.

 


Editor’s note: this is the first of three poems to be published here in the coming weeks.

 

 

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COMMENTS


8 responses to “Middle Age”

  1. Craig says:

    This poem resonates with me. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Kennerly says:

    Excellent poem! Thank you for this work. Insightful and helpful in its understanding of our times, engaging the mind, body, and soul.

  3. Ed Savage says:

    Thoughtful, thank you ….. Those doses of “Grace Sprung wonder” are to live for!

  4. Anna says:

    It is a powerful thing to be able to write about an experience and have it resonate so profoundly with someone who is so far away from being “middle aged.”

  5. Jim Meals says:

    Humor is becoming a rare quality in poetry or, at least, that is the way it appears to this old grouch. Thanks for a work that is insightful, accurate and funny.

  6. Marissa says:

    The blend of humor and insight is wonderful and piercing with the mic drop at the end. 🔥 Thank you!

  7. […] Note: The is the final poem of a brief series. For earlier installments, click here and […]

  8. John says:

    This poem captures well the resigned “sigh” of one adjusting to middle age. After the last few years, stanza two is especially poignant. But there is plenty that is good about middle age too. I think this is partially captured in ‘Middle age says “No”
    with ease’, which is a line I particularly like. That ability to recognize things for what they are and not be fooled is a true blessing of middle age.

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