When it comes to poetry, there are subjects that certainly get more playtime than others. Throw a rock and you’ll hit a poem about romantic love. Poems about aging are a little harder to find (though we will forever be in a swooning state about W.B. Yeats’ “When You Are Old”).
That said, recently, as Woman’s Day reports, nonagenarian poet Wanda B. Goines penned an ode to growing older, and her poem “The Gift Wrap and the Jewel” actually has a lot in common with Yeats’ words. In Goines poem, she also writes about the change in appearance that age brings and how a person’s real value lies beneath their skin (what Yeats calls a “pilgrim soul,” Goines refers to as a “jewel”)
Goines starts out her poem contemplating her reflection:
I looked in the mirror and what did I see, but a little old lady peering back at me. With bags and sage and wrinkles and wispy white hair and I asked my reflection, how did you get there?
She has complicated feelings for this older version of herself:
You once were straight and vigorous and now you’re stooped and weak—when I tried so hard to keep you from becoming an antique.
Then she has a badass revelation:
My reflection’s eyes twinkled and she solemnly replied, ‘You’re looking at the gift wrap and not the jewel inside’—a living gem and precious of un-imagined worth, unique and true the real you, the only you on earth.
The video of the poem has been shared over four million times on Facebook, so clearly Goines’ words are striking a chord. We totally believe that wrinkles deserve more poems, and hope this sparks a new movement of beautiful odes to aging.
Check out the vid below:
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Image via Facebook