I will age
as graciously as summer moves,
(marigolds in flower pots)
fading gently into time,
(dandelions turning white)
while others all around me
fight the way September
(Queen Anne’s lace)
etches autumn on my face.
Frieda Feldman (Listening, 1998)
Frieda Feldman, age 85, lives in the Florida Keys in three seasons, and the green mountains of Vermont for autumn. Having published two books of poetry, she continues to write her thoughtful “Old Woman” poems – see Old Women in our anthology Celebrating Poets Over 70.
Here are two new poems:
The Old Woman sat very quietly
waiting her turn,
She held her gnarled fingers
gently in her lap
as one would hold a fragile china cup
full of pale amber tea.
She sat straight in the chair
attention on the ebb and flow
of young people passing by.
There was a movement in the doorway
and she saw a child she recognized
How could it be, she wondered
that I am the only old woman here. F. Feldman
** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
I am tired, the Old Woman said
from walking over cobbled roads
and broken pavements
left by those who walked before me
But my feet are strong enough
to take me
where I need to be
and that is useful to know.
So, give me your hand and I will help you.
See, the road gets easier
as we walk
and daybreak is beautiful. F. Feldman
** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
Aging in Community News
My Health GPS – Offers one-stop health services information and referral line for Hamilton region.
Creativity in Later Life
Civic Engagement & Writing Exercise
Volunteer to help frail elders at home or in assisted living to send greeting cards for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and also get well and sympathy cards. Discuss the type of messages/cards desired and create or select them for each individual, assist them with writing interesting messages and locating poems or photographs to send along.
Expressive Writing: Words that Heal
James W. Pennebaker & John F. Evans;
Enumclaw WA: Idyll Arbor, 2014.
James Pennebaker stumbled on the power of repeated emotion-based writing early in his career. He has spent the next four decades establishing the conditions under which such writing improves mental and physical health. The brief summary of research showing how expressive writing heals is accompanied by a comprehensive reference section with the key research studies for further study.
The basic research paradigm consists of asking a specific but varying target group (e.g., healthy first-year undergraduate students, individuals suffering with mental illness, individuals who are unemployed) to write for an hour, 4 days in a row, about a trauma or an emotional upheaval in their life. Just doing this has led to consistent improvements (over control groups) in physical and mental health (e.g., blood pressure, depression symptoms), and task performance (e.g. university grades). The impact varies according to target group and also to the extent the writing expresses emotions and thoughts – as measured by linguistic features (e.g. pronouns and story structure) and story features (e.g., positive over negative emotions, story resolution).
Co-author John Evans has used expressive writing for years for his own healing and in his clinical practice. This long-awaited text applies research and clinical findings through specific guidelines for one-week or multi-week therapeutic sessions useful for individuals or groups on their own and for clinicians/educators leading formal courses.
The very useful exercises and examples demonstrate useful repeated writing activities. Furthermore, the text offers important questions to ask oneself as well as self-ratings to monitor (potentially) increasing expression of personal feelings/thoughts and the impact of the writing practice on emotional well-being.
With this wintry photo,
I bid you adieu