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Poetry on Turning 50



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"Poetry on Turning 50"
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Approaching 50 (With Trepidation)

I was nearing 50 while fearing the downhill slope.

I had just received The Letter.

Those who are older

Older than me

You know exactly what that is.

Between your 49th and

Your 50th birthdays

You will surely receive The Letter

The most dispiriting missive you ever did see

Is The Letter from the AARP.

[Shudder]

I have carefully decoded

The hidden meaning embedded

The real meaning of that abbreviation

When you receive The Letter

Your lungs will give out a gale force "Aaaaaarp!"

You'll receive your temporary membership card

And invitations aplenty

Health insurance, pharmacy services

Long-term care insurance and Medic Alert

All for your safety and security

But don't worry

Because your youth has fled

You have now joined

What once was a very exclusive club

The ranks of America's elderly

You will learn to your dismay

That the AARP

Is America's premier political interest group

For the fostering of its growing number

Of senior citizen activists

You will learn how they are fighting

For your interests in Washington

And realize the kids will still pay

For their old folks' retirement

One way or the other

The generation gap still gaps

Just not quite in the same direction

That you remember from the days

When you were bright eyed

Bushy tailed, young and carefree

The Letter is packaged superbly

Easily opened by bent, shaking

Age-spotted, arthritic fingers

It is typed out neatly in big letters

So that failing eyes can easily read it

[Not that that was any sign of aging for me

I've always had poor eyesight]

All of this is exquisitely timed

To force once immortal beings

Once the youth of our nation

To think about what you had no interest in

Thinking about when you turned 49

Middle aged rockers still bend an ear

To old time rock and roll stations

The deejay was laying into

President Bush

Complaining of a faux pas he'd committed

It seems he attended a star-studded gala

Where he stood up and waved at Stevie Wonder

I sat there and listened

Tried vaguely to figure out

Why the deejay was so disgusted

Was it strange for a president

To wave at a celebrity?

Was it demeaning to his office to try?

Slowly, way too slowly

I remembered the truth

Stevie Wonder

Is blind.

He

Can't

See

Bush

Wave

Oh

And so, as the fog lifted

I remembered thinking earlier

Before that rude awakening

That I might finally be slowing down

At that instant I knew

The answer to my query

Was yes

Oh

I guess I needed The Letter after all

More about this author: Sally Morem

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