My hair is gray, almost white.
My left knee is shot; the right dubious.
My upper teeth went south years ago.
The six lower ones remaining need fillings and crowns;
When I eat something sweet they ache.
My ears are plugged up with wax.
I keep asking people to repeat themselves
And thus everyone assumes my mind is wandering.
My taste buds are ten percent of what they once were.
After two hours of reading my eyes mist up;
In the evenings my back aches,
Along with my calves, toes and wrists.
My tent pole still works but rather erratically,
Not to be relied upon and when it blows its bugle
The note is muted, sometimes barely registering.
My face is caving in, my neck waddling.
Even my ears are shrivelling up
Like lettuce plants left unwatered.
In short I’m a wreck, an old pumpkin
About to be thrown on the compost heap.
Yet I sit zazen as steady as a granite boulder.
I can sing fourteen love songs in a row
Without missing a single word or a note.
I can chase my grandson around almost as fast as my sons can.
I can stay up late at night talking ideas and gossiping.
I can concentrate for twelve straight hours
Painting a picture or writing poems.
So why complain?
Well, it’s traditional;
It’s what people do when they get old, isn’t it?