The Days Pass Quickly Now ….

POETRY FORMAT, 15 Jun 2020

Anthony J. Marsella, Ph.D. – TRANSCEND Media Service

I.

The days pass quickly now.
I recall how long each day seemed in my youth.
How I yearned to be an adult,
Able to enjoy the freedoms of age!

Freedoms?
Work, marriage, children, money, cars,
Appliances, tools, furniture,
Dishes, pots, pans!
The accumulated debris of a lifetime,

Filling floors, shelves, corners, cabinets,
Minds!

Freedom indeed!
How little I understood.
If only someone would have taught me,
Lessons that go untaught,
Lessons learned from . . .

Would I have listened?
Would I have understood?
Would I have been grateful?

Each life is lived anew,
Each experience inscribed.
Indelible memories:
Seconds of elation,
Moments of joy,
Days, months of pain, sorrow, regret.

 

II.

 I yearn to share my past,
To tell what I have learned.

Insights from habit, practice,
Wisdom from error,
Good and bad.

I want to tell them to children and grandchildren.
No one wants to hear.

With listening comes connection.
They seek escape!

Freedom!

They fear what I have seen and done.
They heard the stories in their youth.
Words from a father,
Lectures, stories, fables
The same opening line,
“When I was young, I would . . . . .”

Fantasy:     “Tell me what I should know, Papa?

What should I expect?
What should I do if …….?
How did you handle that, Papa?
Tell me the story about Calcutta. …. Again!
What do I regret…….?”

They don’t want to be reminded of what awaits.
They have already fashioned their lives,
Distortions, defense lies.
They may share genes, blood, but ….

Your life is not their life.
They cannot do what you did,
Nor be what you were.
You cannot re-create your life in others.

Procreate, yes!

Re-create, no!

Leave them with their bliss,
You gave them life in a moment of passion.

You fulfilled your gender function . . . . .
A Pacific salmon struggling upstream to spawn ….

 

III.

I imagine family scenes,
Wife, children, dog — together,
Reveling in presence,

Content with talk,
Buoyed by connection!

Idyllic moments:
Pizza in bed,
Dog burrowing in blanket,
Laughing, ticking, teasing,
Joy present!

In the silence of dawn, in the darkness of night, I ask:

How did I make it through?

Doing what needed to be done!
Each day succeeding, failing, falling, rising, An endless cycle!

No pawn of some grand design,
Content with being alive,
Driven by dreams,
No penitent on bended knee,
Begging, promising, renewing.

I brought to each day
Whatever I had at the moment:
Energy, thought, desire,
Anger, frustration, hope!

Day passed, night, another dawn.
Marriage, children, work, money, health, weather,

The stuff of life:
Luck, chance, coincidence, the unexpected,

Decisions, choices, options,
Amidst uncertainty, doubt, fear, relief.

It is not despair I share.
Only awareness,
Consciousness of time!

There is no preparation for ageing:
Ailments, frailties, death,

How little is taught.

Why should they listen?
Why should they care?
The internet can answer any question.
And failing that, there are friends.

Why would children want to hear?
To know what awaits them, denies possibilities.

“It will be different for me.

I am not you.”
I can see the look in their eyes.
They say: “Do not invalidate my thinking.”

Now at 70 (now 78, not 76), I awake!
make coffee in the pre-dawn. I hear birds,
See sky lighten. Sit in silence,
Reflecting!
A lifetime compressed into seconds,
A tear . . .  regret.

The minutes pass more slowly now.
Another shooting pain!
Agony!

Life is short.
Life is long.

Long enough to bring . . . .

_______________________________________________

 Published in GATHERINGS: A Collection of Poems, Poetic Lyrics, Essays, Short Stories ©, Anthony J. Marsella – Aurelius Press, LLC Alpharetta, Georgia 30022 January 31, 2015

 Anthony J. Marsella, Ph.D., a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, is a past president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, Emeritus Professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii’s Manoa Campus in Honolulu, Hawaii, and past director of the World Health Organization Psychiatric Research Center in Honolulu.  He is known internationally as a pioneer figure in the study of culture and psychopathology who challenged the ethnocentrism and racial biases of many assumptions, theories, and practices in psychology and psychiatry. In more recent years, he has been writing and lecturing on peace and social justice. He has published 21 books and more than 300 articles, tech reports, and popular commentaries. His TMS articles may be accessed HERE and he can be reached at marsella@hawaii.edu.


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 15 Jun 2020.

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2 Responses to “The Days Pass Quickly Now ….”

  1. Thanks for that Tony. As I approach 70 on 7/7 I relate to the images and details in your very creative poem. In addition I cherish my friendship and comradeship with you.

  2. Susan Spieler says:

    I like this poem very much and your frequent messages in which you share important ideas. Thanks for the National Geographic article about the history of race protests in the US. I have shared it with many more people. And thanks very much for seeking me out about issues related to our Global Climate Emergency. Have you noticed that we’re not talking about it? It has been replaced by Covid 19 and racial protests. But, it’s not gone. We’ll be reminded about it from some extreme weather or other crisis like a flood or a wildfire.

    Many thanks.

    Keep in touch.

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