Do not fall in love with a poet (not me, silly)

When I started writing this blog a few weeks ago, I intended for it to be an outlet for my light-hearted observations about being 68 and (I might hope) getting older.

That plan has two inherent problems. First is that I am not by nature a particularly light-hearted person. Second is that growing older is not necessarily a process that brings out anyone’s light-heartedness.

Not too long ago I stumbled upon the poem “Poetry Anonymous,” by Prageeta Sharma. I was searching for poetry about Alcoholics Anonymous. Sharma, by the way, is a young American poet of Indian descent who teaches at the University of Montana at Missoula. Montana?!

At any rate, I love the opening gambit of her poem.

Do not fall in love with a poet
they are no more honest than a stockbroker.

Having for most of my life wanted to be a poet and realizing that I am not dishonest enough to be such—I have so little imagination that I can’t make up any of the metaphors and similes and such that make poetry. But I think it would be dangerous to fall in love with me simply for my desire to be a poet.

That’s beside my point here. One line of her poem caught my attention. I’m quoting it completely out of context, but

How does narcissism assist you (?)

became the inspiration for this post. I had been wanting to do this since I began but was afraid that this would be absolutely too narcissistic to be of interest to anyone but me. So be it.

Here’s the deal about this posting. As I reflect on growing older—I have said many times that I expected some day to be 68 years old, I just didn’t expect it to happen this soon—part of the reflection is to wonder if I am the same person now as I was, say, 50 years ago. It’s a really interesting question. So one of the ways I’ve been thinking about it is simply to look at myself.

My look at my-selfs-past is somewhat guided by another poem, this by Emily Dickinson.

THE BODY grows outside,—
The more convenient way,—
That if the spirit like to hide,
Its temple stands alway                 

Ajar, secure, inviting;
It never did betray
The soul that asked its shelter
In timid honesty
.

So here are a bunch of my favorite pictures of me over the years. The ULTIMATE NARCISSISM.

About a year old—Worland, Wyoming.
`1`me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five years old (1950) with my older brother announcing the birth of our sister—Kearney, Nebraska. Our parents sent this picture out to all of their friends. The ’47 Ford was our family car until the Plymouth ’52 coupe.
`2`me and Richard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About 15, the three of us decked out for Easter—Scottsbluff, Nebraska. In 1958 we moved into a brand new house (parsonage). I don’t remember ever looking as dapper as this picture might lead one to believe I was.
`3easter2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About 40, the wannabe concert organist—Salem, Massachusetts. This picture was in the Salem Evening News as I was preparing to give a concert for the 300th anniversary of the birth of J.S. Bach. Someday I will write about the importance of that concert in my life.
`4Ghost of Christmas PastR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My 65th birthday (I threw myself a party)—Dallas, Texas. At this time I was living alone because my partner had died six years before. I was on the verge of becoming a hermit and dealing with chronic depression.
`5entertaining Harold3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over 65, practicing yoga—Dallas, Texas. I was still living alone, but I had finally determined not to let my isolation get the best of me and had begun to do many things to bring myself ’round.
`6bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over 65, substituting as organist in a Dallas, Texas, church. When the church where I was organist closed, I began substituting as organist at various churches, which I very much enjoy because I get to play the organ with no continuing requirement of planning and rehearsing.
`7organ_nR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sixty-eight, writing this blog this morning, Dallas, Texas. I’m sitting the window-surrounded breakfast nook of my inamorato’s apartment in downtown Dallas early (6 AM) and doing my writing before he is awake. I am in many ways happier than I thought possible at this age.
`8me today-5aR

So there you have it. My most narcissistic blog ever. But I want to know, am I the same person who rode around on a tricycle in Worland, Wyoming? I don’t know. I just don’t know.
Perhaps once again, Emily Dickinson knows (I seem to have Dickinson on the brain lately).

THE PAST is such a curious creature,
To look her in the face
A transport may reward us,
Or a disgrace.
Unarmed if any meet her,
I charge him, fly!
Her rusty ammunition
Might yet reply!

3 Responses to Do not fall in love with a poet (not me, silly)

  1. Oh Harold, you hold an endless fascination for me. My love and admiration grows and grows. I do believe you continue to spur me on to blogging in the great cyberspace of blog-o-land. I’m so glad you’re 68 with all the stories and music and contemplation that goes with it. I am proud that you are in my life!

  2. Thank you, Missy. And I’m both proud and grateful you are in my life. I love you and all of yours!

  3. Mary Kalen Romjue, Ph. D. says:

    I enjoyed the pictures!

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