• Benoît Tremblay

Old Age, A Personal Testimony

Old Age, that sly operator nobody wants to see, jumped on me recently,

In the manner of this great tidal wave off Kanagawa imagined by Hokusai

I must decide now: either I accept the fact or make my life a sob story,

Bye-bye Booze, Adios cocktails, Hello endless cups of Earl Gray.

My life is an interlocked enumeration of good and bad.

I have seen the best, Kennedy’s prediction, the 1969 landing on the Moon.

I have seen the worst, the deaths in the streets of Baghdad.

But in most things, I have become as indifferent as placid Saskatoon.

Old Age is a series of failures, an accumulation of pains,

I can’t discern the clouds, I forget my keys, I can’t hear the rolling sea.

My heart could burst anytime, as my persistently irascible doc explains.

Of course, I spent my life enjoying beer, French bread and too much Brie.

I used to be thin and handsome, now I am considered as big.

Unwanted hair grows out of my ears and nose.

People who see me think I a sort of self-important bigwig.

Conscious of my looks, you won’t catch me in my underclothes.

A long time ago I was popular with the ladies.

Now, as I walk about town, I won’t merit a second look.

I can imagine they say, maybe this old guy has mad cow disease.

My name has certainly been erased from the studbook!

I really don’t understand computers and newfangled electronics.

What is an I-Pod? How do I have access to mysterious Facebook?

My politics have been shaped at the time of hairy Beatniks.

Pen and paper I still use, I respect grammar, I find solace in a paper book.

I have an old Husky dog named Muffin who was born in Opitciwan.

Both of us carefully walking the streets, apprehending ice and cold.

I dreaming of hot Cuban beaches, him of smelly Parmesan.

Both of us, oldsters and in desperate need of being cajoled!

If this is Old Age, then pray tell me why am I content to be old?

And this despite the pains and aches, the limitations and the weaknesses.

It is generally accepted that acquired experience is as good as gold.

Age has bestowed upon me the ability to prevent profligacy and excesses.

Old Age is a Maple leaf in autumn, when it is celebrated and splendid.

It is the same of old wine, for Old Age can be appreciated as a virtue.

Old lawyers and old carpenters are preferred as far away as Valladolid.

Remember, Old Age was celebrated by Ancient Greeks and by the grave Sioux.

I have my souvenirs and memories, some I would like to forget.

Divorces, treachery and painful betrayals, deep wounds that devastated my life.

But destiny has had pity on me: I met my eternal love and safety net.

A woman of gold who would have followed me, even to distant Yellowknife.

Old Age allows for a special reward: that of being a confortable granddad.

My many grandchildren are from Vietnam, Gatineau, and Québec City.

Not having to play stern law enforcer, as I was to my children, makes me glad,

Even if the visits of these little gangsters could turn my house into Dodge City.

As I advance in age, I assembled a society of old friends for life.

Only those few who expressed through time true affection and loyalty.

In my venerable age, I can’t stand relations based on ceaseless strife.

The absence of friendship, tested by time, could make me vinegary and grouchy.

I now accept that Old Age is the best part of human existence.

Past wrongs have been forgiven, replaced by tolerance and wisdom.

I may now live in peace and serenity, unburdened by useless pretense.

Surrounded by a loving family and good friends, I can live until the final Shalom!

Shalom Aleikhem! Assalamualaikum!

Benoît Tremblay

Saint-Lazare, February 6, 2017

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