I Didn’t Know Me Now Then


When I was young

I never thought I would be old.

It wasn’t real to me.

I imagined kindly grandmothers and grandfathers

in rocking chairs on porches or in nursing homes.

telling exagerated stories about the Great Depression

when nobody had nothin’,

or the old country before anyone even had a radio,

exactly as I saw the old people I knew.

I hadn’t imagined yet that it would be different,

that it would be me. How could I?

I didn’t know me now then.

I didn’t realize how age humbles us,

though it was always there to see.

Now, I look back and I can’t imagine being young,

It’s just not real to me, like a faded photograph

I’ve been trying to unload.

This accumulation.

I’ll give to anyone who will take it.

because it’s just too damned heavy

and it’s too hard to hold onto,

and I don’t need it anymore,

and really, it’s all just this stuff that happened,

like things have always happened,

like that falling star out over the ocean last night.

Now that was real…..and so beautiful……

and I missed it.

RR 1/19/16 – Barra


3 thoughts on “I Didn’t Know Me Now Then

  1. A failure of the imagination, or did we lack the maturity to see ourselves in others? I loved my grandparents and actually was fasinated by their stories whenever they told them, but still could not see myself as old. We can’t see into the future, we are not seers. In our society, our obsession with self is over the top, but societies are never fair. It’s ourselves only that we have any control over, that we can change. The way many people treat their elders today seems rooted in meanness which seems rooted in their own personal hurts, whether they are real or merely percieved as so, which is rooted in……..
    How can we be different than what we are? If we can answer that question, we may have a chance at a better world.
    We have no chance of that at all unless we can imagine it first.

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