Just the other day I heard someone say, “well they’re just old and in the way.” I tried to imagine how someone could reach into their bag of meanness and say something as unkind as that.

We don’t stop living as we get older, we just find new outlets for our gifts. My eyes are extremely poor and I have tremors in my left hand. I can no longer see the music or play with intonation that my ears will allow. So I have retired my best musical friend of almost 60 years…my cello. And now a new chapter.

I may be old but far from “in the way”, and I have found a wonderful outlet. Poetry. I’ve written many songs in my lifetime, and lyric and poetry have similarities but are not exactly the same.

I realize that I’m just a journeyman and haven’t paid the price that many fine poets have for years. It’s like taking music theory all over again…except in poetry. In order to perform at a high level in basketball, baseball or any sport, you have to have a strong command of the fundamentals. Learning the rules before you break them.

For now I feel a little uneasy, but hope that as I strive hard and get the rudiments down, good craft will work confidence and other good creative sensibilities in me. It’s good to be a little uncomfortable..it keeps you on your game. For me, the process is the payoff.

I listen to as much classic poetry as I can, and that’s overwhelming all by itself. I’m very fortunate to have high school friends who are beautiful poets I really admire and from whom I can learn so much….and there is so much to learn.

I’m not pretending I’m not getting older, but in my spirit, I feel young again. I never consider myself “in the way”….just “on my way”. I don’t get into comparisons, because that only ends in misery. I just do what I do, the very best I can…and that brings me great joy!!!

I keep coming back to Pablo Casals, the great Cuban cellist who when asked why he still practiced at 90, was quoted saying, “I believe I am making daily progress.”

Me too.

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