I see you busy in your work.
Your hair, more white than black, is thin
And falls loosely over your shoulders;
There is a vein that beats prominently
Above your forehead, and your hands
Now gently shake when you are tired.
Your clothes sit light on you, the lines
On your face speak of the years in the sun;
You are not now the same person you were.
The back that bore the weight of three children
Is somewhat bent with time;
You had walked out of home to work
Overcoming the loud small-town voices
And your own shyness; they are silent now.
You were made of iron, but that too rusts.
I think of all this, and time, and sorrow.
You see me and conscious of my gaze
You smile your smile of missing teeth.
You are old, like silver, beautiful:
You seem to have walked out of a painting
By Raphael or some Renaissance master;
I cannot breathe, I am overcome:
There are days like this when we live
As if death or time did not matter,
When it is bliss just to be alive;
You tell me it may rain, to take the umbrella.
Among the most mundane things to say;
And all I think is how grateful I am
For life and you and everything,
And how old age should be exactly like this:
To have lived a life doing the things you love
Being the mistress of the small things,
Watching what you gave your heart to take shape.