I recently met a very old European lady who still had all her marbles. She was the wisest person I ever met and is alive still, at 116 years old.
Her memories were extraordinary

Born in 1890

Her life has spanned three Centuries, two Millenniums
But no one listens to her any more

As a child she ran barefoot to draw the well water
Lit the candles to say her prayers each night
Preserved the autumn crops in jelly, salt and wine
Listened to the tales her grandparents told, in awe
Of what they knew that she did not

A voyage on horseback or horsedrawn her rare treat
Long dresses and petticoats, buttoned shoes on Sunday feet

As a young woman she roared through her twenties,
Laying the ghosts of a million dead men across
The sparkling dance floors, giddy on the gaudy streets of shame.
She flirted with starvation, accustomed to deprivation,
used to making do.

Cinematic extravaganzas in black and white
Courteously courted by dashing blades in uniform

Unbowed by the depression of a world without work,
Life had been harder in her youth, so she grew with eyes wide open
She watched dreams of flight become reality,taking over her normality
Motorisation, gaining generalisation,
taking hold

Propaganda extravaganzas in stark monochrome,
Horror and death too close to home

As a mother she waved her children to distant, rural safety,
Far from the bombs and falling death smashing families apart
She saw Victory and watched the world moved on
Watched opulence gain acceptance and extravagance become
Sought after and available to all

Rock and Roll swung its skirts before the hips of a new King
James Dean turned heads on a new scene

The wealth of the rich she saw divided, re-defined and enlarged
She saw mass production package life into chunks
of work and play, with never enough of either
She saw automation divide and conquer her day
She lived through the free love
and it cost her

Saw the generation gap appear and couldn't stop it
The computer age confused her, space travel diffused her
Life became too fast, too vast, too far flung
Travel, once a distant dream, a game for only the wealthy
Became imperative, a packaged marathon, barely pleasing
To parts of the world often best forgotten

She watched her children's children drift away
Into a world of clockwork-orange speak, mobile phones
Baggy trousers and Mozart ringtones
Saw them turn inwards as the world expanded
Saw the world forget her as it turned the page on a thousand years
of war and start a new one from old wounds.

Has she already seen everything that man can be and not be,
every act of genius and depravity, every bitter dream, spiralling achievement?

Three Centuries,
two Millenniums,
a Thousand lives
and Deaths
lived in One.

Maybe she could tell us something

Poetry by Carey Lenehan
Read 911 times
Written on 2006-11-04 at 10:41

Tags Elderly  History  Wisdom 

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This is truly one of the very best poems I have read on here. I really felt it like I was watching it through her eyes. The imagery, emotion, and awe is all so real in this piece. I am glad that I found it! It must have been wonderful to talk to this lady--can you imagine being in her shoes and seeing the world change so drastically? This is an amazing write-BRAVO, BRAVO!