Parsing Ripeness || Alan Cohen

Learning to let go

We are rich in last days 
Call it practice
Hard at first to stomach
Overnights
Visits from distant friends
Vacations
Pets
Summer camp
Early on
We can carry on, cry
Take weeks to recover
Later there are 
School, weekends
Romances
Last performances of choirs, dance troupes, plays
Last days of work
Funerals
Successes
We scar, withdraw
Shake our heads
Ready, almost, to throw in the towel
Inured

Learning not to let go too soon

But giving up exercise
Acquiescing in weight gain
Abandoning the subversions
Of theater, music, literature, travel
Forsaking questioning
Downsizing and/or living on one floor
Before absolutely necessary
Yielding, compromising, accommodating
Diminishes, truncates, undermines us

Letting go

As once with when and where to swing the bat
Dive
Invest
Send the resume
Divorce
Let the arrow go
Ask for a raise
Buy the house 
Retire
So with moving on
Only when there’s nothing left
We still can say, do, or be
But then with complete abandon
Launching fearless into this last last unknown

Alan Cohen was a poet before beginning his career as a Primary Care MD, teacher, and manager, and has been living a full and varied life.  He’s been writing poems for 60 years, is beginning now to share some of his discoveries, and has had 152 poems published in 79 venues over the past two years.  He’s been married to Anita for 41 years, and they’ve been in Eugene, OR these past 11.

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