wondering why or where I am on this weighted planet.
while I bring to mind the shape of yesterday
and my cause for tomorrow.
Light that once burned with promise now fades
into a child’s fairy tale pages,
whose favourite rhymes are yellowed by the worn thumbs of time.
Jaded by the world’s repeated spin
an aching stiffness plays in wintering hips,
bringing hints of grief to be shaken free, unstirred by memories
which clamour to be heard.
Saturn looms in wait
to hang new rags befitting of increasing age.
I cannot know the nature of the cloth he brings to me;
He holds his dim-lit secrets close.
I will not see till richest jewels embed red velvet robes,
or humble sackcloth meanly coats my modesty.
Yet he may choose to steal away my mind,
taking every gleaming gem and cleansing all the dirt of my design,
to leave me naked,
staring blindly through dementia’s whitened eyes.
Should this be my dusty fate,
if I can find whatever courage it may take
to face the kingly bringer of old age,
maybe I’ll be bold enough to beg one small request,
and this is what I’d hope to say:
Saturn, through the changing milky way, you have viewed my every inch of life, my ant-like triumphs, my small mistakes, my deepest suffering and my utmost joy.
You know I’ve borne three daughters and one boy, and with their children we have built a family that is more than life to me. If you insist, then whip away those cherished memories, and those from childhood days when love for mother reigned supreme.
Rob me of the lifelong passion I have carried hidden deep – the one enduring dream which freed my breath and eased my nighttime sleep. Take the trees I climbed, take my friends and my possessions, my ego and desire.
Take the earth and take the last remains of smoky fire.
Hack away the tangled rope of sanity.
leave the one perfect moment that my life contained —
you know the one I mean:
That simian day beneath a beating sun;
a silly prank while in midst of friendly fun,
Russian-marching down the road, kicking high, grinning wide.
He grabbed my ankle, held on, made me hop.
Humorous indignity multiplied by unbridled hilarity
ached in my sides,
while occupants of passing cars laughed; became part of our antics
and I held a fine balance beneath a magic sky.
There in the eye of the mad storm of chortling glee,
I felt the peoples of the world reach out in quest for peace
as the earth briefly spun into line.
You remember it, Saturn, bringer of old age and senility —
who could forget the moment when eternity stood still,
and for an instant,
pain, suffering and death did not exist;
nothing remained but love,
and love was the funniest thing.
You and your sibling Planets froze in space,
awaiting that moment —
that quintessential moment —
that you may resume
let what little I have left
be the funniest thing.
©Jane Paterson Basil