TUESDAY: Mapping the Wilderness

BY JOAN VINALL-COX

This is an excerpt from Joan’s new Poetry Collection of the same name. Copyright is held by the author.

Courage at eighty is different from at twenty
But both ages carry their future constantly —
A fearsome thrust into an unmapped wilderness.

To carry your future at twenty is to seek
The wilderness because it must be mapped
And shaped. There are roads to clear and homes
To build, and no one has given you a plan
For your wilderness, (just the one they didn’t use in theirs).
So you thrust forward, knowing too little and enough,
Building blindly wherever you find a clearing, lifting
The log of your childhood so it bridges your fears,
Confident that it might not collapse on you.

A fearsome thrust carrying life forward blindly
At eighty requires enough love to endure
Despite loss, and endure because of loss to come,
And endure because of the sweetness still here, if
Courage persists. And, despite (because?) the compass pointing
Through the wilderness to the edge of the map,
Tells a tale seen over and over about endings, despite this,
To work through today knowing
too much, and not enough, about tomorrow.

Courage at eighty is different from at twenty
But both ages carry their future constantly —
A fearsome thrust into an unmapped wilderness.

3 comments

  1. Frank Sikora

    I’ve made this comment before and it still holds true: I love the poetry posted on Commuterlit. Excellent, especially the following:
    ‘To carry your future at twenty is to seek
    The wilderness because it must be mapped’

  2. Dawn Boshcoff

    You continue to inspire with your thoughts and words. Nice contribution to this crazy world! ;-Dbosh

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