on aging

“On Aging”, the poem by Maya Angelou, has raised many discussions. I must confess that reading your opinions propelled me to write about it too. The thing that I like to say is that honestly speaking, the moment I read and heard the poem at class, I took a dislike of it. By hearing the serious and stiff voice of the poet and the first lines of the story I saw a frowned old woman in front of myself that frightened me. She wasn’t like the old women of the kind that I had been accustomed to. Where I grew up in, elders have a great value and respect. In both Afghanistan and Iran and as I learnt during the presentations in Reading and Writing class about Nepal, Bhutan and Vietnam and of course Bangladesh, people show their gratitude to elders by helping and caring for them. On the other side, elders enjoy these treatments and become pleased with seeing their children serving them. Moreover, in contrary to Angelou’s poem that she avoids other’s chattering, in my society there are few things you can equate sitting and hearing others chattering. For example, despite my mother isn’t that much old to sit like a sack, but she likes us to sit and talk and share our day with her. Meanwhile, we sometimes used to sit and ask her to talk about her past. We need each other’s sympathy as well as respect. In addition, to show our caring we usually are expected to give elders a hand and help them carrying stuff and fetching them whatever they need. I remember whenever my mom had been carrying something if my seven year old niece was around she would run and take that from my mom’s hand. Then we could see the sparkle of satisfactory in her eyes and hear her blessing.

This difference in the ideas usually is derived from the different patterns and cultures. However, we cannot judge any of them as wrong or right. The thing that we must consider is to pay attention to these differences and act as is appreciated. If we want to express our feeling and gratitude toward elders we have to be aware of what she or he would prefer.

 To show the difference here I have writen a poem:

“On the Joy of Aging”

“When you see me sitting quietly

Like a sack left on the shelf,”

Don’t forget I gave you the life’s laughter

Now you are leaving me on myself?

Hey! Come, my grandson, my granddaughter.

The once whose smile is the essence of my life,

I will tell u another story if you bring me a glass of water!

“When my bones are stiff and aching,”

And I can’t embrace you, take you for a walk

Can you do me a favor?

Sit and tell me about your day. Please talk.

“When you see me walking, stumbling,”

I would be thank full for taking my hand

Cause I’ve spent my life on all of you before,

Not leaving me alone is not a big demand.

“I’m the same person I was back then

A little less hair, a little chin,”

A lot little days, and much less time.

But seeing you around, I’m more lucky and keen.

 Zahra Saifey

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3 Responses to on aging

  1. aditi27 says:

    Dear friend,
    You encouraged me to share what my grandmother feels through your peom. As a counter argument to what Maya Angelou demands at her old age, I could see my grandmother’s request in your poem. My grandmother who is 92 year old often wants us to be near her and listen to her life experiences. She feels joyful whenever me and my cousins go near her and share one another’s stories. I can see satisfaction on her eyes when we hover around her. Most interestingly, she would be pleased to learn English words when we taught her how to pronunce them. Despite this, she would enjoy growing vegetables in the backyard of house and wish if we could help her pull the water from the well.
    After reading your poem, I developed nostalgia for the time i had spent at my home hovering around my old but bold grandmother. I remembered the awesome time she had spent in Assam, India during the war.

  2. Dear Zara,
    I really liked your view on aging. I am fascinated by your poem. Your poem talks about an woman who wants to enjoy her old age. Comparing to the woman in the poem and the one in yours, the difference that I noticed is that the woman in the poem used to ask others to leave her alone, whereas in your poem, the woman wants someone with whom she can be with. On the other hand, I also noticed similarity that both of those women talks the same thing, i.e. they have the same heart and are the same as before.

  3. auwpriyanka says:

    Dear Zahra,
    You have made an interesting observation. I really liked it. I agree with you that the poet’s voice sounded really frightening when we heard in the class. I was horrified too. In fact, it was my first experience to hear a poet recite its poem in her own voice. Also, you talked about that not every old people think as the poet has described. They like to have fun and enjoy their life too.
    Also, in my country old people want to be respected. They are highly religious and conservative so they do not accept any immoral behavior from the youths. I have seen many old people who act like children when they are around with their grandchildren. They enjoy and play with them. They want to live their life with their fullest. There are also many old people who do not want to be isolated from the crowd. They like to share their stories and experiences.
    Moreover, I enjoyed reading your poem and appreciated your work of poetry. You can be a good poet as well .I wish you luck. I found it inspiring and hope to write one in the near future.

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