It could be new.

Elizabeth Jennings was younger than I am now when she wrote the poem below, which includes lines about “not fitting in,” and about  being old and unnoticed. But the finish, “At last you can be…” is so promising, and expresses what I want to be learning.

Have you seen the meme of the month, as we see the 2020’s drawing near? (Mostly young) people are posting photos of themselves from the beginning of the decade to compare with others more recent, sometimes with an assessment of, or a thanksgiving for, what has happened in their lives in those ten years. Izzy’s photos were the most striking, because ten years ago she was still a chubby pre-teen, and her Now photo shows an adult holding my great-granddaughter; Izzy is a blossoming and lovely wife and mother.

My daughter Pearl’s thankful husband posted pictures of her, from 1999, 2009, and this year, and they are stunning to me, as they not only show how she has become more beautiful with every decade, but hint that her beauty flows from some of that liberty that this poem explores, and it shines out from her countenance as peace and joy.

From my vantage point, on the outside I seem to have changed little in ten years, and God only knows what has happened on the inside; it’s not for me to assess. I am astonished most mornings at His mercy and grace in giving me one more day of strength to engage with my struggles, and to love His creation, including the humans.

I’m sure the title of this poem carries multiple meanings — related also to what is communicated in the last lines, where “to include them all” might mean two things: First, to be all the things that the young and old can’t have, to have in your person and consciousness the blessings and wisdom of all the ages that you ever have been; and also, to include all of those who for various reasons ignore or scowl at you. To hold them in your love, and in your prayers.

Happy Thanksgiving!


You are no longer young,
Nor are you very old.
There are homes where those belong.
You know you do not fit
When you observe the cold
Stares of those who sit

In bath-chairs or the park
(A stick, then, at their side)
Or find yourself in the dark
And see the lovers who,
In love and in their stride,
Don’t even notice you.

This is a time to begin
Your life. It could be new.
The sheer not fitting in
With the old who envy you
And the young who want to win,
Not knowing false from true,

Means you have liberty
Denied to their extremes.
At last now you can be
What the old cannot recall
And the young long for in dreams,
Yet still include them all.

-Elizabeth Jennings

16 thoughts on “It could be new.

  1. “This is a time to begin your life.” My spirits leapt when I read that. I try not to let my post-three quarters of a century years discourage me from all I still want to do, but sometimes in the middle of the night a tiny bit of anxiety crops up. Well, sometimes not so tiny.

    “Being what the old cannot recall”, I guess that’s the stage I sometimes worry about reaching, but who is to know anyway? Maybe my own mother, in her latter 90s and memory slipping away, is at a perfect peaceful place, waiting for her journey home.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah…what can be said in response to your tender and thoughtful post and this large poem? Thank you dear friend…may your days continue from strength to freshly given strength and your joy increase with wisdom and peace aplenty. Happy Thanksgiving.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “This is the time to begin your life. . It could be new.” Could it really? I’d like to believe it but somehow find it difficult. As Kezzie said, it’s thought-provoking.

    Have a happy Thanksgiving.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One of the most inspiring works I have read is Molly Peacock’s, “The Paper Garden ~ An Artist Begins Her Life’s Work at 72.” Yes, maybe it is time to begin one’s life ~ every single day!

    Liked by 1 person

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