Old Woman

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

i the old woman,
with breath on my hand,
have come before–
down this hill with stoney sides–

have come
the spears of grass
against my legs–

and then the sea
and its green smells
after the rain–
until this garden.

i have come
the flowers to be richer
in the coming spring,
reaching out for their smell
with only my finger tips,
sitting awhile,
and waiting.

i the old woman
have passed
the sea
many times,
not looking
at the whale
of the waves,
thinking i have



Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

15 responses to “Old Woman

  1. thomag1

    So true, Ethel. Well put together poem….the form ‘dresses’ it perfectly…the message is clear . We look and yet, we don’t see because we will have time later…we think…..I love this poem……my best to you, tom

  2. jeglatter

    Oh me too! Beautiful poem.

  3. I enjoyed your poem as well. Blessings, Ellen

  4. Being an older woman myself, I so relate to your realization that you passed right by these wondrous sights so many times in the past. Beautiful scene described in the rhythms perfectly matching my “old woman” dawdling along to soak it all up these days!

  5. Caddo Veil

    So beautiful, with reverence–and sad, to me. God bless your day.

  6. Anna Mark

    Your poem reminds me to seize the day.

  7. Ethel, this is a beautiful reminder not to take anything for granted. I love all these images that stir the senses into remembering that we must be ever mindful and present – to the “whale of the waves”!

  8. A great poem often builds with sensory images and leaves you with an emotional void that was the subject all along. This was well done. Thanks for sharing it.

  9. Your poem speaks of taking today and making the most of it. Time passes so quickly. A good reminder here Ethel.

  10. Yes, that’s very true: we go through life “thinking i have time // tomorrow” and “thinking the flowers to be richer in the coming spring”.

  11. Elizabeth Herron

    This is so beautiful and poignant. Thank you Ethel.

  12. The older I get the more I realise that I must take the time to look – to really look.

    Poetry has been part of the process in teaching me to do that.


  13. Old age slips up on us while we put off til tomorrow what we might have done today…

  14. Julie Catherine

    This beautifully written poem fills me with sadness, with longing … and with gratitude. Thank you, Ethel. ~ Julie

  15. Leaves the attentive reader refeeling what they are – human

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