Poems of aging, by Dorothy Regal


Dorothy Regal

Death and dying are a recurring theme in Dorothy Regal's poems, in part because she didn't begin writing poetry until she was in her late 60s.

Now 91, she began writing poetry in 1986, the year she and her husband settled in Seattle from afar. When her husband died in 1999, she moved to Bellingham.

A collection of her work, "A Measure of Strength; Poems of Aging," was published in 2012 and is available for $12. The poems below are selections from the book, courtesy of Regal.

I'm spinning the threads of my life
on and on and on.
What will I make of it?
loose and tight
dull and bright.
Someday I'll use up the thread.

How quiet the house is.
He sleeps in his room,
sleeps or drifts toward coma.
I'll know if he wakes,
asks for tea,
a quarter of a cup, no more.

I walk from room to room.
The air is so still,
as if afraid to move,
as if waiting to settle.

I go to his bedside,
look down at this man
who was my lover.

Unasked I bring the tea.
It grows cold.

You're going to that place
of unknowing
without saying goodbye?
Still not sure?
Dear lost friend,
your body knows.
It will tell you.

Soon, after you leave,
we will say only good things,
talk about your art,
the two books, the poetry.
When we pass your door
there will be no name
on it for a while.

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