26 June 2018

Welcome the Worry-Wart



File:Worry dolls.jpg
Guatemalan Worry Dolls


“To thine own self be true,” I quote Shakespeare
when leaving older folks at home again—
their homes—as I must go to mine. Again.

The rhythm is catchy, this going and
coming, this aging and knowing “better
this than the alternative,” as Dad says.

And death will come in time, no denying
mortality these days. As I smooth my
own wrinkles, I try to admire them.

“They give your face some character” someone
said—but I don’t remember who—uh oh—
memory is going, too!  Take pictures!

Many many photos cut open my
tree rings, thickened with tricycles and friends,
thinned with divorces and abandoned causes.

Or is it opposite?  Could striving and
failing be richer than success and smiles? 
I walk among the maples trees and ask.

My legs feel rubbery, but I push on
over stone fences and into the pines.
We are silent questioners together.

Praying again?  Yes.  Should I have stayed?
I walk and write and pray as my rings change,
and my branches grow into brittleness.

Laughter inside, my heart delights to feel
the worry that I’ve carried all my life.
No point in arguing, I say. Welcome.





My blog poems are rough drafts. 
Please respect my copyright. 

© 2018 Susan L. Chast



19 comments:

Old Egg said...

How beautiful these reflections and musings are Susan. I am sure many of your readers will echo the sentiments that you talk about. There is nothing better to walk in the forest among the trees or alone on beach with surf rushing in to feel that all will be well.

Thotpurge said...

Many many photos cut open my
tree rings... what a gem of a line.
And love the close... it is what it is in the end, no sense arguing!!!

Gillena Cox said...

Wow those are sturdy legs. keep on going.

"My legs feel rubbery, but I push on
over stone fences and into the pines.
We are silent questioners together."

Happy Wednesday Susan

much love...

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

There is great wisdom in welcoming the life that is, rather than pining for the life that might have been.

Sumana Roy said...

“better / this than the alternative,” ...I feel every word of it. Sooo love the images of rings changing and branches growing into brittleness and of course the closing lines.

HA said...

"Could striving and
failing be richer than success and smiles?"

I wonder - this is so characteristic of a life lived in its actuality and all being accepted in a bid to be one with it. This is such a charming poem - such musing makes the idea of growing older by the day seem just fine. I like the dictums and the perspective of course, but the things that I love the most are the natural rhythm and the craftsmanship with those breaks and italicized observations.

-HA

Carrie Van Horn said...

Accepting all of who we are is a wonderful and powerful thing Susan. I can relate to the sentiments you have shared deeply.

indybev said...


Long ago in a book, title long gone from my thought banks, I read that to have a happy life one must first learn to love one's self. Self-acceptance is a magical thing, and you have expressed it well.

C. Sandlin said...

I like the rhythm of your worry in the poem, reading it is like turning a stone in my hand and it leaves me more settled that before.

Sherry Marr said...

I so resonate with this poem...I have carried worry all my life too, well-justified. So difficult to juggle the demands of aging parents and one's own, small self. It is good to take time to replenish, before you go back again. I especially love "I walk and write and pray as my rings change/ and my branches grow into brittleness." Oh, yes. In my case, the constant worry is a daughter with a mental illness, now in crisis. I walk on the beach, in order to be there for all the rest. And the over-riding reach of it - we cant control the outcome. "We are silent questioners together."

Marja said...

I so loved this beautiful poem with these wise reflections
and some stunning lines like
"Many many photos cut open my
tree rings, thickened with tricycles and friends..."
"My legs feel rubbery, but I push on
over stone fences and into the pines.
We are silent questioners together."

Truedessa said...

I think we all push on even when we are too tired or the legs feel rubbery. It is a sign of resilience the ability to move on through the stages of life and to find a place of comfort in who we are, at least that is how I see it.

sreeja harikrishnan said...

What a beautiful poem...so magically expressed...loved this so much<3

rallentanda said...

All you can do is pray and give thanks for your daily abundant gifts You parents are fortunate to have you and you them. This is a wonderful giftthat they are bot still with you. Keep pushing those rubbery legs over the stone fences and enjoy every minute of it:)

annell said...

I love that you are full of questions, questions open doors, while answers close them. Keep asking questions...and who is this person under the wrinkles? Whose hair is liquid silver? Have you noticed as we grow older, we are given permission?

Sara McNulty said...

Deep reflections in this, and the questioning continues. Maybe the maples carry the answer.

Kim Russell said...

I love that you see yourself as a tree, Susan, and recognised myself in the lines:
'Many many photos cut open my
tree rings, thickened with tricycles and friends,
thinned with divorces and abandoned causes.'

Magaly Guerrero said...

I used to ask people, "Why are you worrying? If things are going to go wrong, they are going to wrong anyway--so you just wasted a bunch of time that you could've enjoyed until you actually had to worry. And if things actually go well, then you still wasted a bunch of time you could've used to do something yummy."

Then I gained some more vintage(hood) and realized that for some souls, worries can be extremely sticky. Even when they try to kick them away, the worries find ways to cling around.

These days, I just tell my Piano Man, "I wish I could bottle my nature-given don't-give-two-hoots-until-I-have-to superpower, so that I can share it." I've yet to manage it. But when I do, Mistress Worries and I will dance until she drops.

Susan said...

I would buy some of your elixir!