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How To Be Old
5 minutes | Jul 12, 2021
No fear of old age—a poem
Many people say they have fear of old age, not death or dying. But my role model is the woman who wasn't afraid of open heart surgery—or loneliness—or lazy brain. This poem has danced off the page and has its own chorus and a subterranean tune.
18 minutes | May 27, 2021
Scottish poet Michael Pedersen on poems, people and old age
Scottish super-poet reads "Gravity" and talks about poems, people, and his future old age. Recorded November 2019 and still as fresh as a purple thistle head. About Michael Pedersen: The Scottish Poetry Library Neu! Reekie! Kim Hill interviews Michael Pedersen
14 minutes | May 5, 2021
Young poet, old poet
A young poet reads a poem to an old poet. An old poet learns about eating green apples with chili, and a new snack is invented. You can read the original poem on my blog.
16 minutes | Apr 19, 2021
Poetic therapy: two poems for when you break or are haunted
In a storm of regrets or negative thoughts, when you feel broken or haunted, a poem can help you to mend. That's informal poetic therapy. Today Kintsugi by Janis Freegard and When Befriending Ghosts by Siobhan Harvey are poetic therapy for me. Which poems do you turn to? I'm Rachel McAlpine, 81, a New Zealand poet. Kintsugi by Janis Freegard You will break and break and keep breaking until you’re on the floor Wondering whether you can ever rise. (You can.) You’ll break until you feel you may never be whole again. (You will be.) But you’ll be altered. Now is the time for kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing with gold, mending the cracks in smashed ceramics to make something more beautiful. You’ll reassemble yourself and use gold to seal the fissures. You’ll be better than before. Don’t stay damaged — That’s no use to anyone. Don’t give yourself more pity than you need. As soon as you’re ready, heal. (On second thoughts, You may never be ready. Do it anyway.) Trust me when I say: it’s going to be better. Trust me when I say: This isn’t your fault. This shouldn’t have happened. But it has and you couldn’t have stopped it. Make sure whatever happens next is good. Really good. Prepare your lacquer pot, Mix in the gold. Janis Freegard's Weblog If Befriending Ghosts Siobhan Harvey If they are the legacy left in lost code If they are the beginning of broken soul If they are the bitter end of love If they are the sour taste of rejection If they are the other side of the story If they are the curses cast into oblivion If they are the chemical rendering of light If they are the sky at the point of breaking If they are a house troubled by occupants If they are a dwelling upon difficult territory If they are my crying out of pain If they are my tearing open old wounds If they are my looking deep inside If they are my viscera, blood and bile I will give them oxygen and time I will give them fuel and flame I will raise them to ruin, to wreck I will raise them as lovers, as pets I will wear them up like a leash I will wear them down to a dust I will be their armour, their second skin I will be their padded cell, their asylum Siobhan Harvey
6 minutes | Mar 26, 2021
Poems for friends and relatives
Today I'm reading a few poems that I wrote for particular friends or relatives—not love poems, just a message of delight or affection. Have you ever written a poem like that—and given it to them? That's pretty special for both the poet and the receiver.
6 minutes | Feb 12, 2021
How children think: 3 poems
Wonder what children think about hell, careers and catastrophes? Sit back and listen to three poems with some insights into their private worries. Theology of hell I was worried. I was seven and Daddy (as we called him then) was tucking me into bed. I was worried about hell. I wasn’t sure how bad you had to be. So I asked him, “When I die will I go to heaven or to hell?” Not a chatterbox he thought before he answered. We always could see him thinking with his eyeballs and his mouth. He said, “I don’t believe in hell for God is a loving God. But if there is a hell, I’m sure that only a very very few would go to hell, and only after doing something very very bad.” “Like what?” I pushed. Again he pondered. Then he said, “Like killing a person on purpose and never feeling sorry.” He was a vicar, and he knew. He kissed me goodnight and left me healed. I knew for sure and certain I would never kill a person, not on purpose and if I did, I would be sorry— so I wouldn’t go to hell. Vocational Guidance You have to say something when they ask and they always ask. But I haven’t decided yet. I might be an anthropologist or I might be a lady with a nail polish shop or I might be both, and in my spare time I might be a ballerina. When I get tired of being a ballerina I will have a baby called Hannah and she will be my friend. But I can’t have two friends called Hannah so I will give my baby Hannah to my other friend, Layla. Actually I won’t get tired of being a ballerina. Elsie's Scale of Terribleness Having no one to play with is four out of ten if it’s only a single day. A sunburn on your bones is an eight. Dropping your lunch in the dirt is a five. A zombie attack is about a nine A ten would be if my dog died (that would make me very sad) or if all the humans of the world got destructed by the God of Mud but Granny dying would only be a five, because she’s old. All poems are from How To Be Old, for sale at any New Zealand book store (if not, they'll order it) or buy direct from The Cuba Press.
8 minutes | Dec 29, 2020
Happiness poems: 3 poems for a happy new year
After 2020, we may need help to achieve a happy new year. Sit back and listen to 3 poems about happiness that might help you to find it or notice it squatting in your life.
9 minutes | Nov 13, 2020
Poetry reading: Making friends when you’re old (or young) is hard
It's not easy making new friends but when old friends move or die or cut contact with you. Two poems with some ideas that might help at those times.
14 minutes | Oct 15, 2020
The Burden: poem about end of life choice
A poem about my mother's elaborate plan to end her life at 70 by throwing herself down a crevasse in the Franz Josef Glacier or Fox Glacier. I can't remember which. End of life choice is complicated and personal. Her own choice was purely imaginary when she was young.
7 minutes | Jul 11, 2020
Fortune cookies: tiny poems about your life
Take a few minutes off and let me read to you. Today, I’ll read some tiny little poems that I call fortune cookies. They are feather light. Maybe one of them is about your own life. You’ll know it when you hear it. The poems are from How To Be Old published by The Cuba Press.
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