Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Year of Living Dangerously

I've been reminded this year, by the passing of my godmother Doris, and of my friend and teacher Deborah--and by a variety of physical maladies--of the fragility of life, and its brevity. I'm still dealing with a kidney stone that appears reluctant to leave my kidney, and a sudden hearing loss in my left ear, which has wiped out about 2/3 of my hearing on that side.

Still, growing older has its benefits, as I've expressed in the piece below. On my good days, I actually believe it.

Today I have a voice, a rhythm, a flow-
which I didn't have at 20 or 35.
It was a tune I could not hear,
until Middle Age.

This year my hearing began to fade,
to wilt and disappear,
like my snapshots of New Zealand mountains
taken in my twenties.

But my inner voice-
internal rather than external,
which won't show up on an audiogram,
its frequency too high to be heard, even by dogs-
is coming in loud and clear.

It's a voice that only I-
with my weak left ear and fair right one-
can decipher,
a language meant only for me.

Is this a fair trade-
to hear less of the outside world,
and more of the inside one?
I'll be the judge of that,
and say 'Yes.'


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