Donald Hall

(20 September 1928 - / Hamden / Connecticut)

Affirmation

Poem by Donald Hall

To grow old is to lose everything.
Aging, everybody knows it.
Even when we are young,
we glimpse it sometimes, and nod our heads
when a grandfather dies.
Then we row for years on the midsummer
pond, ignorant and content. But a marriage,
that began without harm, scatters
into debris on the shore,
and a friend from school drops
cold on a rocky strand.
If a new love carries us
past middle age, our wife will die
at her strongest and most beautiful.
New women come and go. All go.
The pretty lover who announces
that she is temporary
is temporary. The bold woman,
middle-aged against our old age,
sinks under an anxiety she cannot withstand.
Another friend of decades estranges himself
in words that pollute thirty years.
Let us stifle under mud at the pond's edge
and affirm that it is fitting
and delicious to lose everything.


Comments about Affirmation by Donald Hall

  • Mahtab BangaleeMahtab Bangalee (11/26/2019 3:33:00 AM)

    Let us stifle under mud at the pond's edge
    and affirm that it is fitting
    and delicious to lose everything. // beautiful writings comes something to affirm going something; goes something to affirm coming something(Report)Reply

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  • Banamala SenBanamala Sen (9/16/2019 3:16:00 PM)

    What an affirmation!
    " Let us stifle under mud at the pond's edge
    and affirm that it is fitting
    and delicious to lose everything."

    The title is so fitting, and the content so philosophical! Congratulations!(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Dr Tony BrahminDr Tony Brahmin (9/16/2019 1:36:00 PM)

    New women come and go. All go.
    The pretty lover who announces
    that she is temporary
    is temporary. a very fine and interesting cogitation. tony(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (9/16/2019 12:27:00 PM)

    Aging! ! ! ! !
    Everybody knows it.

    Thanks for sharing this poem with us.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Kumarmani MahakulKumarmani Mahakul (9/16/2019 11:47:00 AM)

    This is really a beautiful philosophical poem relating to life, old age and anxiety having haunting expression. Thanks and congratulations for being selected this poem as the modern poem of the POD.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Ratnakar Mandlik (9/16/2019 11:18:00 AM)

    The journey of life witnessing sudden departure of the loved ones and finally forcing us to affirm the ultimate reality. Well deserved modern poem of the Day.(Report)Reply

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  • Anil Kumar PandaAnil Kumar Panda (9/16/2019 9:45:00 AM)

    Old age and death is inevitable. One should remain prepared to face it. Very nice poem. Thanks for sharing.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Uche NwanzeUche Nwanze (9/16/2019 7:54:00 AM)

    Old age is sweet and sour but it is inevitable. 'Affirmation captures the essence of old age, many dream about it, many dread the thought of it.(Report)Reply

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  • Mahtab BangaleeMahtab Bangalee (9/16/2019 5:03:00 AM)

    To grow old is to lose everything// beautiful philosophy(Report)Reply

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  • Prabhata Kumar SahooPrabhata Kumar Sahoo (7/2/2017 6:21:00 AM)

    I got the picturisation of our aging process very clear.Yes, we are bound to it.(Report)Reply

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  • Hsiaoshuang ChinHsiaoshuang Chin (1/29/2012 5:22:00 AM)

    I have to re-read the poem before I appreciate how true it is in my life today at age 60(Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Moraes Zogoiby (8/26/2009 8:13:00 PM)

    You people are morons and your thoughts are banal. You have no idea what this poem is about and you lack subtlety. Get real. You read something about death, loss, love, and immediately it's a warning, as if these things in combination could never signify anything else. I'm guessing English isn't your first language.(Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    9 person did not like.
  • Robert Elder (1/20/2008 4:19:00 PM)

    While this might not read as his best poem, the sentiment is still worth considering. For me at least it is a caution to avoid becoming too enamored of attachments in life. Certainly this is true for material goods. And, at least for me, it is a caution to avoid objectifying relationships. I know I am more at peace when I focus on conduct, and act according to my beliefs (e.g., by choosing to act with compassion when ever and however I can) . Given that I am far from perfect, and thus have much comparative experience, I do know I am happier when I act with compassion toward others rather than behave in an acquisitive manner toward others. In this light I see “Affirmation” as a work of warning even regret.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Lamont Palmer (8/14/2006 2:03:00 PM)

    This is a pretty banal and unimaginative poem. It reads like a few paragraphs from some book by Dr. Phil about love. Best thing I like about Donald Hall is him living in that old 19th century farmhouse in NH that his grandfather and mother were born in. Now thats poetic.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • Anne Marie (8/13/2006 7:00:00 PM)

    Why delicious and fitting to lose everything, you ask? Maybe because only in losing it can you claim you ever had it. Everything and every person is temporary and temporarily having something or knowing someone is the is the best you'll ever get. The alternative is never having it at all. Reminds me of another poem called One Art, by Elizabeth Bishop.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Barbara Moore (6/30/2006 10:23:00 AM)

    Why delicious and fitting to lose everything?(Report)Reply

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Read all 16 comments »

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Read poems about / on: marriage, school, friend, women, sometimes, woman, beautiful, lost



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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