Frank Robinson: 'Senior Moments'/December greetings


"Senior Moments

(written in a retirement community)


Two friends talking to each other,

each one hardly hearing the other.


Such a wonderful democracy –

everyone is old.


For people with a lot of past

and very little future,

what counts is now.


Fragility and strength –

these crowds of people

who should have stayed in bed.


How strange,

after all these years,

not to have a home any more.


In this time of truth,

the only thing to do

is to lie.


“People change.’’

This is the lesson

that we have to learn again.


Too many singles trained to be doubles,

too many workers with nothing to do.


Commune, kibbutz,

New England village,

or resort hotel –

take your pick.


The fear is

I’ll feel too deeply

or I won’t feel deeply enough.


Marriage in old age –

each one waiting for the other

to lose his mind.


“I can remember

a thousand thousand words,

but not the name of my husband.’’


“This is such a funny joke,

every time I tell it,

I laugh.’’


We’re so lucky to be here,

and yet we’d give anything

not to be.


Remembering and forgetting –

diseases of old age.


Each of us knows

how little time there is,

so you’d think we wouldn’t waste it.


At seventy-eight,

I’ve got my health, my hair, my wife –

I’m all set.


This is what it’s like here ---

one long schmooze,

followed by an even longer snooze.


Environmental Poem:

My hair retreats ever year,

like the ice in the Arctic.


If there is a paradise,

I promise to tell you by email

right away.


Canes and ski poles,

walkers and wheelchairs ---

an army on the move.''


-- By Frank Robinson, an Ithaca, N.Y.-based poet, art historian and former head of the art museums at Cornell University and the Rhode Island School of Design. He has written such year-end poems for years.