Tag Archives: Aging

Road Map as Quatrains

I answered a prompt for a quatrain about maps on dVerse by submitting a poem I’d written entitled “Roadmaps.” Although no one objected, it bothered me that I’d just fulfilled half of the prompt, so I decided to transform the poem into three quatrains.  It only meant adding  a few words to each stanza. Here is the rewrite. I don’t know if I like it better, but at least it follows all the rules:

Road Map

I’m held captive by your wrinkles, dear, enraptured by your ripples.
I love your freckles and your moles and all of nature’s stipples.
They are sacred landmarks. When I find one that is new,
I give thanks to nature for adding more of you.

Sometimes, dear, with the dark night around us rich and deep,
my mind goes on a walkabout as you lie asleep.
The road map of your body is the terrain that I pace—
the slight knolls and the gullies and your face’s fragile lace.

Some folks bemoan the changes that nature brings about,
and they bring a different beauty. It is true, without a doubt.
But as I trace each special feature of your body and your face,
I am sure that nature’s carving instills a deeper grace.

To read the original poem go HERE. Which do you prefer? This illustration and the original poem are from my adult coloring book entitled When Old Dames Get Together and Other Confessions of a Ripe Old Age. Available from Amazon HERE.


For the dVerse Poets prompt. Go HERE to read other poems to this prompt.




These lines upon my face are ripple marks that represent
all of my life’s ebb and flow, those tides that life has sent.
Calligraphy defining those advantages provided
along with life’s misfortunes that somehow I abided.

Life gives and takes away, sometimes in equal measure—
pain spicing our life as surely as the pleasure—
smile lines as well as creases left by frowns.
Surely, there’s no shortage of life’s ups and downs.

It is the hand of nature sculpting animal and flower,
altering and remolding hour after hour.
From dinosaur to newborn babe—fish and bird and tree,
there is no end to our world’s originality.

Time is the finest sculptor of everything we see.
It is the very master of creativity.
Animal, vegetable, mineral—no two things quite the same.
Constant alteration is evolution’s game.


Prompt words today are ripple marks, represent, spice, definition, shortage and advantage.

Bucket Listless

Bucket Listless

Before I have to face the heavenly ordeal—
(perhaps discovering that what I’ve scoffed at is for real.)
Before I kick the bucket, and while I’m still alive,
I’ve been told I have to choose a thing or five
and label them my “bucket list,” a practice I abhor,
(and even if I did, I can only think of four
things that might elate me as I shuffle toward the door.)

If I had the energy, I’d surely take to wing
and fly to foreign spaces to see everything
I didn’t see the first time, when I was in my youth
and as short of brains as  I was short of tooth.
Something about youth draws fortune to our side,
and when you bring up adventure, I think of ones I tried
and shake my head in wonder, surprised that no one died.

I’d like to go to Ireland or on a last safari,
or maybe back to India to replace the sari
I buried my dear cat in because he loved it so,
yet I fear my energy is at an all-time low,
so I will spend my dotage sitting in my chair,
thinking of adventures that I do not dare
pursuing, for I find I dread their wear and tear!!!

Prompts today are: bucket list, elated, heavenly, ordeal, alive and wings.

Intimations of Mortality

Intimations of Mortality

Though I am still active, for sure I’m not my best.
Whereas once I boogied, now I find I’d rather rest.
I know I’m winding down for sure but I feel I must
achieve those things I said I’d do before I bite the dust.
While I’m waiting to be cancelled, I’ve agreed that I’ll  be wise.
My finale bears no stigma, for everybody dies.


Prompt words today are  wise, agree, finale, stigma, active and cancelled.

And for NaPoWriMo

By and By

By and By

Lately, when she couldn’t sleep, she debated whether
she should forsake winter for a more salubrious weather.
Hidden under blankets with a heater at her feet,
she dreamed of balmy breezes and the sunlight’s heat.

In less than a day, she could drive down to the border
and find a small posada where she could sit and order
margaritas by the pitcherful beside a sunlit sea—
a novel fallen from her hand, a chihuahua on her knee.

Tacos or enchiladas? In her hometown, she’d be loath
to order either one of them, but here she’d order both,
all her peccadillos unviewed by censoring eye.
She pledged an oath to do it in the by and by.

Prompt words today are border, both, salubrious, peccadillo, winter and hidden.

“. . . In the sweet by and byWe shall meet on that beautiful shoreIn the sweet by and byWe shall meet on that beautiful shore . . .”

—lyrics by S. Fillmore Bennett and music by Joseph  P. Webster

Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays

The advent of a new year has me in a tizzy,
feeling discombobulated, very nearly dizzy.
For no matter how experienced I am in greeting new years,
It suddenly occurs to me that there are very few years
left for me to celebrate, so I will not roam 
far from that place I love best. I’ll celebrate at home.

Prompt words today are tizzy, advent, experienced.



No matter how we grovel, time marches staunchly on.
You do not need to call it, for it will come anon.
Moment after moment, we can’t avoid its flight.
It segues from each morning to afternoon and night.

We can’t exceed its time limits, for it determines when
we pass from pretty newcomer to become a has-been.
It is the plan of nature. We can’t escape the way
that time chooses to change us day to day to day.

Prompts today are flight, grovel, pretty, exceed, moment and segue. This post, I realize, seems a bit self-centered, but I couldn’t find photos of anyone else that showed this many stages. I had more photos that included people from different stages, but unfortunately I forgot to save it so after an hour of work, lost it. These are hurried photos briefly illustrating the mutability of life.

To the Moon, Alice!

How exciting. My poetry is going to the moon in the Polaris time capsule!!!
(Click on the first photo to read the details.)

What is most ironic is that this is a poem I read at the reading at the Nueva Posada today. The synchronicity of  later receiving a message that my poems were going to the moon is just too much to overlook: 

A question posed by one writer can often serve to provoke an answer by another. So it is in this poem, written seven years ago which is an answer to a question asked by Joan Barfoot in her book Luck. 

What happens to someone like her as she gets older?
                                                             –from Luck, by Joan Barfoot


She loses her balance, starts to fall.
Once in the kitchen, three times in the hall.
Finds it harder to remember, spends more time alone.
Speaks her mind more freely, less likely to atone.
She starts attracting cats that come inside and do not leave.
Wears frays in her clothing–hemline, neckline, sleeve.
Starts forgetting passwords–sometimes the names of friends.
Her search for keys and glasses never really ends.
Starts waking in the nighttime to contemplate her death.
At midnight, has to go outside to try to catch her breath.
Counts the years before her instead of those behind.
She could live to one hundred if fate is being kind.

Will she live her last years with sister, lover, friend;
or will animal companions help her meet her end?
Will anybody mourn her? Does she want them to?
Will she be remembered by a poem or two?
Will anybody read her after she is dead?
Will all her future poetry die here in her head?
Will her blog named “lifelessons” finally cease to be?
Will they give the name away for a modest fee?
Will they erase her blog spot, burn her files of poems?
Cause a glut on EBay of her leftover tomes?
If she sells a book or two every other year
where will Amazon send the money when she isn’t here?

One day in the future in three thousand two
will Zee, (some bored teenager, with nothing else to do)
go onto the internet connected to her head,
close her eyes and throw herself backwards on her bed
and stumble on an errant line that floats through cyberspace,
and Google it to try to find its author, time and place?
“What happens to someone . . . ?” are the words that Zee has found.
Her fingers start to twitch as she is driven to expound.
The printer prints the words she says without her further action.
Tied into her speech and thought–spontaneous reaction.
” . . . like her as she gets older?” is printed on the wall.
For there’s no paper in the world. No paper left at all!
Her face is flushed, her eyes dilate, her eyes first squint, then blink.
This random line floating in space has provoked her to think.
First she’ll finish cyber school, then link her living pod
with a blowout sort of guy with a gorgeous bod.
They’ll make links with other blogs and party with their friends
for a couple hundred years before they meet their ends.
She thinks back on the interbrain to look for thoughts and links.
Lets her mind go soft as into cybermind she sinks.
Looking for her future job. She knows it’s there to see.
Time being just a concept to wander through for free.
She plops onto a webpage from two thousand fifteen,
all the information still there and easily seen.
The line Zee thought jumps out at her. She sees it’s not her own.
It’s been used two times before and now it seems it’s flown
into her thoughts to sort her out and give her a direction.
As she reads on, she catches on to this writer’s inflection
in every word she writes and when she gets to the post’s end,
she goes on reading through her life and starts to make a friend.
After two days of reading, she winds up at the start
knowing every detail in this blogger’s heart.
Then she goes back to where she started and sees her doubts and fears.
It’s then that she fast-forwards to the blogger’s final years
and sees the truth of everything that’s going to transpire.
The failing health, the hopeful mood, the ad, “Wanted to Hire
an interesting friend to talk to while I fall asleep.
One capable of caring and thoughts that wander deep.
Someone to be there some nights when it seems that I might leave
for one last time this life that’s loosening its warp and weave.
No heavy lifting needed—a weighted thought or two
is all that I find necessary. Weighing thoughts will do.”

Zee zoomed back to the entry that had drawn her thoughts at first.
The very sentence that had caused her gloomy thoughts to burst.
January was the month and 14 was the day
The year 2015, when she’d been the first to say
those fateful words and now Zee, too, was thinking just the same–
moving to the comments to add her words and name.
“Dear Lifelessons,” she’d say to her, and then add her assurance
that everafter she would be her safety and insurance
that she would never die alone or be bereft of friend
for Zee was vowing here and now she’d be there at the end.
She’d looked ahead and so she knew that she would keep this pledge.
She’d known the center of this life and now she knew its edge.
She knew the dates that she’d be needed in the years ahead.
She made a list and filed it in a clear spot in her head.
And then she went on thinking what those words meant in her life.
Would she be a scholar, an actress and a wife?
Would she produce children and would they be there for her?
That sentence found in cyberspace created quite a stir.
But all her dreams it prompted came true enough, what’s more
she kept her date with Lifelessons in 2044.

                                                                            –Judy Dykstra-Brown, Lifelessons, 2015


Thanks, Lady Nyo, for giving me the news that our poems were going to the moon!  Below is a link to her blog.


A “Golden Years” Rebuttal

A “Golden Years” Rebuttal

Those who call these “Golden Years “deserve my blunt oration,
for getting older, you should know, ain’t no free vacation!
The abundant pains of aging for sure are not a bonus,
for to suffer silently seems to be our onus.

Our skin’s variegations you may think are bad tattoos,
but what you see as sub-par art, alas, is just a bruise
from taking our blood thinners. Every blot and every dot
is a new reminder of a bumping that we got.

When you bring us nuts and caramel, we thank you for your ventures,
but we do not mention we can’t eat them with our dentures!
“Old age ain’t for sissies,” is an adage often told,
so I am not the first to bemoan this getting old.


(Just kidding, Dolly.) Prompt words today are caramel, abundant, oration, variegation, and golden. Retablo and photo by jdb.


Here’s to Fate!!!


The conferral of my future to the errant whims of fate
has cleansed my mind and eased negative feelings as of late.
My checkered past spread out with joy and pain  in rich array
as I lay me down no longer adds to my dismay.

What comes will come. The practicality of recognizing this
is, in short, what most contributes to my present bliss.


Prompt words for today are array, checkered, practicality, conferral and negative.