Poetry Tuesday #1 – Old

The subject today is “Old” – an eventuality I considered at length in my chapbook “On Turning Fifty” – there’s something about a milestone birthday that makes you want to stop, look right, left and right again, before going forward. Today’s poem, however, comes from a divergent thought about reality, about time and by extension, all things existential.

One more bean

The line from me to myself arches across the southern
sky, plummeting through a cloud of stardust, or maybe it

scours the bottom of the ocean, dragged up, wet and
heavy: either way, both lines pause at the threshold of

this argument? On one side, worn, wrinkled fingers shell
hyacinth beans, dropping them into a wire basket —

79, 80, 81… the toothless smile is capitulation and
resigned acceptance. The beans will be skinned and

cooked in powdered spices at dawn. On the other side
is the moon, watching with one eye. Languishing. She

too will be peeled and colourless once the kitchen fires
are lit. See how both parties offer their transience in self-

defence. One more bean. One more hour. One more
meaningless night. As if time is just a farcical construct, a

peg on which to hang our last excuse for being here. As
if every clock face is a pulsing confession of age old guilt.


Do share your poems, exploring any aspect of the prompt(age, history, evolution, geology, childhood, yesterday, nostalgia, rust, wisdom – whatever it means to you), using the Mister Linky widget, or leave the link in the comments section below. Even if you don’t have a poem to share, stop and say hello! Next Tuesday’s prompt (12th November) will be “New“!



40 thoughts on “Poetry Tuesday #1 – Old

  1. “See how both parties offer their transience in self-defence.” The self is somehow preserved by surrendering to the temporary nature of being. And time is a guilty pleasure. Well, Rajani, you had me at “divergent thought about reality, about time and by extension, all things existential.” I love the way your mind works. Thank you for another transformative read.


  2. This is absolutely exquisite! ❤️ I especially resonate with; “On the other side is the moon, watching with one eye. Languishing. She too will be peeled and colourless once the kitchen fires are lit.”


  3. I’m very late with my comment, but better late than never! One more bean seems such a small topic for a poem, Rajani, and you’ve made it universal, from the opening couplets that reach to sky and sea, through the skinning and cooking of beans, to the contemplation of time. I felt the power of the last line.


    1. Your comments are always welcome! Thank you, Kim! And the prompts are open all month because the PDF compilation won’t happen until December. Am glad you liked this poem – those beans are particularly popular around here at this time of the year, they had to slip into a poem!!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Like your wonderful word-spinning as always, Rajani – though as you know, I always take issue with the idea of ageing meaning decrepitude. I was thinking to myself, ‘Well I’m about to be 80 and *I* don’t have a toothless smile!’ then I remembered I have a full set of dentures, lol. (Tend to forget they’re not part of me, having had them – not this particular set! – since I was 25.)


    1. The poem, to me, is more about life and what it means or how meaningless and transient it is – the “why?” – I do share your view that one can live a full, vibrant life based on one’s attitude and approach – age has nothing to do with it!


  5. My comment disappeared, which is just as well as I expect it was indecipherable. I was thanking God for that “pause at the threshold of / this argument.” Eat and live another hour–the old woman and the moon need each other. But this is such a bleak view with capitulation and languish the defending forces! I suspect I’ll want to live into every next hour I can without resorting to defiance either–maybe at that line where I meet myself I can become the old woman in the moon. Would that be dwindling? What an intriguing poem!


    1. Bleak in a way – yes – but it all becomes murky when you start wondering if there is some grand purpose or if life is just another inconsequential combination of atoms. It would be simpler to quietly accept one or the other! Instead, it can become a struggle that leads to some dark poetry 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing, Susan. Much appreciated.


      1. Dark poetry is good. AS far as “inconsequential combination of atoms” though, the whole creation is so complex that it’s hard to imagine it could be meaningless. At the very least we’re placeholders or pieces in a puzzle so vast that the role doesn’t come into focus.


        1. I agree that is a healthier way to look at it. To accept the overwhelming complexity. Am exploring a few of these ideas in a new set of poems that should see daylight sometime next year – universe, faith, purpose, existence – fingers crossed!!!!


  6. A Pact

    I make truce with you, Walt Whitman—
    I have detested you long enough.
    I come to you as a grown child
    Who has had a pig-headed father;
    I am old enough now to make friends.
    It was you that broke the new wood,
    Now is a time for carving.
    We have one sap and one root—
    Let there be commerce between us.

    – Ezra Pound

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Someday, that is exactly what I’d like to say (in a reversal of roles) to social media driven poetry. We have one reader and one like- let there be commerce between us 🙂 Thank you Huzaifa for bringing this poem here – how efficient is that little piece of writing!!

      Liked by 1 person

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