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Words to Say on Nearing Seventy
Judith Heron

Say arthritis
say Power of Attorney
say walking stick or cane.
Say them quickly so when
                             they come upon you
you are not shocked.
Do not say sorry!
Say glory and hallelujah
whenever you can.
Say junco, finch, winter sparrow.
Say the rose still blooms.
Say it as though it is a miracle
and believe that it is true.
Say waffles with friends
a walk by the sea
and when you are tired
                                 go home.
Say thank you often.
Say it loud!
Keep your eye on the one
who goes ahead
by just a speck of time.
How she persists through hard times
we do not want to speak of.
How she still knows        
the sound of rejoice.
Knows how to call you together
make a party
set aside the remnants of sorrow.
And when she turns seventy
say Happy Birthday as your grandchild would.
Fling open your cupboard
bring out your favorite finery just for her
and wear it. Testify!

© by Judith Heron.
Used with the author’s permission.


Judith Heron lives in Victoria on Vancouver Island. She has been published in a number of chapbooks edited by Patrick Lane, and in three anthologies: A Murder of Crones (Ptarmigan Press 2007), The Wild Weathers: a gathering of love poems (Leaf Press 2012), and Poems from Planet Earth (Leaf Press 2013). Though she has always lived on the west coast of Canada, Judith cherishes the homestead traditions of her prairie heritage. She is currently in the final edit of THE JAM MAKER, her first book-length manuscript.



Post New Comment:
Ross Kightly:
Do not say sorry. No, do not! Nearing 70 is a lot of fun I find...
Posted 02/02/2014 09:57 AM
Very close to perfect! I'm going to share this with those nearing seventy (or even eighty!) Thank you
Posted 01/31/2014 06:11 PM
Vera Stanfield:
I hope I am never too old to rejoice! Thank you, Judith and thanks to my baby sister, Jayne, for this lovely poem. I wish you were both here in California today and we'd "throw open the cupboard," and celebrate.
Posted 01/31/2014 02:30 PM
Judith Heron:
Dear 'pl' , Joe, Chris and all you many precious others. I watched a Pete Seeger special last night on PBS. The last song had this refrain: 'For now I am yours, And you are also mine'. Isn't this a wonderful poet community? Thanks for being its lifeblood, Jayne.
Posted 01/31/2014 01:30 PM
You literally bring tears to me, Judith, as I am well-past the seventy mark and still gamely living your words.
Posted 01/31/2014 01:12 PM
Joe Sottile:
From the first verse on the reader knew this would be a joyful and refreshing poem. Bravo! Thank you, Judith.
Posted 01/31/2014 01:08 PM
I love the spirit of this poem!
Posted 01/31/2014 12:23 PM
chris schulz:
Passing this along to sacred crones who will find themselves counting 70 revolutions soon.
Posted 01/31/2014 11:42 AM
Grace Cockburn:
Lovely, Judith!
Posted 01/31/2014 11:28 AM
wendy morton:
Rejoice! Thank you Judith.
Posted 01/31/2014 11:18 AM
Hallelujah for poems such as this. Donna Hilbert
Posted 01/31/2014 10:00 AM
Very nice. But I am 71 and happy as a lark finally getting to practice all the creative interests that have been hiding while I worked to support myself all these years. This is a bit different than I think but, I love it. Thanks.
Posted 01/31/2014 09:49 AM
How fun, today is my birthday and though I am not yet 70, it all applies!!!
Posted 01/31/2014 09:34 AM
Ralph Murre:
A few weeks shy of 70, and knowing the truth of every word. Thank you for this poem.
Posted 01/31/2014 09:32 AM
Lovely! I would send it to my little sister as she turns 57 today, but it's a little too soon for her. Instead, I'll save it for myself -- 67 in June and that's 'nearing seventy'.
Posted 01/31/2014 08:40 AM
say junco, finch, winter sparrow! Oh my Thank you, Judith
Posted 01/31/2014 08:12 AM
Heading in the 70 direction sooner than later, so thanks for this wonderful poem. I will keep an eye on the one who goes ahead--great line and great idea, too.
Posted 01/31/2014 08:01 AM
Ah, yes...thanks you!
Posted 01/31/2014 07:39 AM
o so true, but happy--thanks, Judith!
Posted 01/31/2014 07:14 AM
It is always better to be over the hill than under the hill. Thank you for a beautiful poem from someone about to turn 69 in one day.
Posted 01/31/2014 06:57 AM
Beautiful Judith, just adore this poem :) Maire in Ireland.
Posted 01/31/2014 05:57 AM

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