“Ode to Mrs. Miller” by Nolo Segundo

I did not know how brave she was—
Ninety-two and I, seventy less,
So young that old age
Was textbook stuff:
A fact of life,
But not mine.

I was alive and free
To stride the world,
A colossus of youth—
Whereas she had ate
Almost a century.
And all her friends
And all her family
Lay dead somewhere—
Except in her mind,
Still crisp, poignant
In its memories
Of a wealthy husband,
A daughter dead young.
Her own youth and beauty
Remaining lonely in a
Silver-framed photo.

She never complained,
This old lady—
Never once did I hear
Lamentations, a bewailing
For the richness of life:
The ripe fullness she once felt
As a wife, a mother, a woman
Of grace and beauty.

She lived alone
In a basement flat,
Barely five feet tall—
Yet I’ve never known
Any being braver—
Yet it is only now,
When I am become old,
I envy such courage.

Nolo Segundo, pen name of retired teacher L. J. Carber, 74, became a published poet in his 8th decade with work in 47 online / in print literary magazines in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Portugal, Romania, and India; in 2020, a trade publisher released a book-length collection titled The Enormity Of Existence, and in 2021, a second book titled Of Ether And Earth. His themes are the not so brave new world of aging; that inscrutable mystery we trivialize as ‘love’; and the awareness he’s had for 50 years since having an NDE [near-death experience] while almost drowning in a Vermont river that he is sharing a long dream with a myriad of other dreamers, and that he has probably dreamt such dreams many times before.

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