Affirmation Poem by Donald Hall

Affirmation

Rating: 3.4


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 OF THE POEM
Hsiaoshuang Chin 29 January 2012

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

5 1 Reply
Anne Marie 13 August 2006

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.

3 2 Reply
Robert Elder 20 January 2008

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.

3 2 Reply
Anil Kumar Panda 16 September 2019

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

1 0 Reply
Ratnakar Mandlik 16 September 2019

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.

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Nabakishore Dash 08 December 2021

Every line is important and meaningful.A great write full of truth in one's life.

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David Wood 08 December 2021

You have to find happiness and contentment with the life that you lead, however short or long that is.

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Mahtab Bangalee 26 November 2019

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

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Banamala Sen 16 September 2019

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!

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Dr Antony Theodore 16 September 2019

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

0 0 Reply
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Donald Hall

Donald Hall

Hamden / Connecticut
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