Alison Cassidy

(6th August,1945 / Melbourne, Australia)

! ! Aging with Grace?


The temperature was pushing forty
as we limped into the swanky cafe -
air-conditioned, thank God!
The patronage was mostly middle class
and middle aged,
save for a few ancients
shuffling tentatively
behind their Easy Walkers.

The meal took ages,
and you were hot and bothered in the heat,
so I filled in the time
perusing the faces around me.
A sour sexagenarian
caught my eye.
She had the face of a bulldog
and an ample rump that overflowed her chair.
She stuffed food into her mouth
with dogged determination
and unreliable dentures.
Her shapeless frock had wilted
and her gray locks
hung limply beside long-lobed ears.

Another of a similar vintage,
teetered by the till.
At first I thought she was young.
Her shoulder-length hair
was dyed and tipped
and her scarlet three inch heels sparkled -
but as she turned toward me,
the heavy makeup and designer spectacles
failed to fully mask
a lined and leathery face
that had baked too long
under Melbourne's blistering sun.

As the waitress placed
our 'chili squid' before us,
I remarked to my grumpy companion
that these two were probably our age!
Sad, how one had given up completely,
while the other hung on so desperately
to her brightly painted youth.

Submitted: Sunday, November 29, 2009
Edited: Sunday, November 29, 2009

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  • Tony Jolley (2/18/2010 6:42:00 AM)

    Hi Ali, evocative, as always. Provocative too, for me with the title, given that courtesy of a pretty awful divorce some five or more years ago I am now, I am 'Aging without Grace' - the Grace in question being my daughter.... poignant. That personal connection apart, your observations are always pinpoint-sharp. What a continuum you paint between the two ladies... and what does propel one to the one extreme rather than the other? Maybe fighting, king Canute-like, the tide of age is one of the poles perhaps the other is a measure of acceptance that the tide will come in whether we like it or not. Between the two, I guess, we are all just dancing on the beach as long as we can..... As ever, you set me off thinking and for me that is always the sign of good writing. Regards from a 10 minute break between teaching classes! Tony (Report) Reply

  • Nimal Dunuhinga (12/9/2009 10:14:00 PM)

    You explain us the sad process of crawling life? Really it's a rare artwork by a mysterious hand. (Report) Reply

  • Sonya Florentino (12/1/2009 8:11:00 AM)

    what a wonderful vignette you’ve captured….I guess the answer to how to age gracefully is to be happy, healthy and (hopefully) to still be in love….. (Report) Reply

  • David Harris (11/30/2009 3:30:00 PM)

    Allie, with your ever scrutinising eye you examine everything around you and delivery it to us a delicious meal. Another poem with awesome observation you have treated us with. Top marks plus for this gem that will be lined up with the other Cassidy classics. Thank you for sharing it with us my friend.
    Hugs David (Report) Reply

  • Patti Masterman (11/30/2009 9:59:00 AM)

    You sure have the observant eye of a writer. I could smell the steamy food and feel the air conditioner struggling to keep up with the doors endless opening and closing. Now I am scared which woman I am. If I don't get busy soon, I do know which one I will be turning into. Thanks for a marvelously revealing portrait of the choices available as we are all busy growing older. (Report) Reply

  • Diane Violet (11/29/2009 10:44:00 PM)

    So that's why my hairdresser suggested I start sporting a chin-length bob......seriously Alison, it's good to be reading you again. Your words had me sitting at the lunch counter seeing this all first hand. (Report) Reply

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