Still Living

Sometimes as I look at the world, I think,
“It’s a good thing that I’m on the brink.”

At eighty years old, I’ve not long to go.
Will I outlast democracy? I really don’t know.

And then I look at what I have left to do,
Books I have started, and never seen through.

And that isn’t all as new ideas come to mind
I so want to write them, but where will I find

The time that is needed to get all of it done?
I need a hundred years, or else help from someone.  

Then, thinking of dying brings me up short.
I have closets to clean and items to sort.

How much longer until I fall dead?
I’d better just say what needs to be said.

Do for my children what lightens their task.
And answer the questions they forgot to ask.

I’ve books I should rewrite, but first I must toss
Rubbish and old stuff gathering moss.

But I find myself stymied by so much to do,
I dare not, though I want to, start something new.

But then I realize, as I’ve thought of my age,
I’ve put life on hold; I’ve built me a cage.

And so, as I’m thinking of the day I will die,
I’ve forgotten to live, and I’m wondering why.

About this poem

On turning 80, I suddenly began to feel like life was running out, although my health is still good and my mind active. Then I wrote this rhyme about where my thinking started and where it led.

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Written on June 23, 2022

Submitted by janet_1 on June 23, 2022

Modified on March 08, 2023

1:15 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 1,139
Words 252
Stanzas 12
Stanza Lengths 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2

Janet Muirhead Hill

Janet Muirhead Hill is a novelist who occasionally writes poetry for fun and for self-expression. Her published books include the Miranda and Starlight series of horse stories for middle-grade readers and other fiction. more…

All Janet Muirhead Hill poems | Janet Muirhead Hill Books

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Discuss the poem Still Living with the community...

  • lovingempath
    All of a sudden I felt a need to start sorting through my 'stuff' and 'de clutter', so someone isn't left with the job of cleaning up the remnants of my life. My health isn't great and I don't have enough energy to do everything I need/want to do, so today I spent time in my garden and just tried to forget about all of this 'end of life' stuff. I tried to be 'present' ('Jewoo' reminded me of this with his June submission). That helped to 'de-clutter' my mind and I'm feeling pretty peaceful right now. I think my whole point is...Your beautiful poetry is something you need to be 'present' with. This poem is so full of emotion, and truth and wisdom that I believe it is more of a legacy than any tangible item a person might leave behind. And don't be afraid to start something new either. That's what keeps our spirits alive:And I believe you will live forever!! And I didn't mean to drone on and on, but I guess I was just trying to express how much you poem touched my soul. 
    LikeReply1 year ago
    • lovingempath
      P.s. I also believe your story-telling abilities are phenomenal! I remember being carried away by your poem 'Hurry Cane' and actually thought it had been written by an old sea-faring man. I think the ability to put yourself in a totally different persona is a gift. Your poetry is a gift! :) 
      LikeReply1 year ago
    • janet_1
      Thank you for your kind words about my poetry.
      LikeReply 11 year ago
    • lovingempath
      You are very deserving of praise Janet!
      LikeReply 11 year ago
  • RhymingVibes
    It’s commendable that you chose to write on this. Apt and honest. Thanks for this contribution to world of literature. I am sure you would go on to complete all those tasks and more that require 100 years of time. Warm regards. 
    LikeReply1 year ago
  • TheArkProject
    It speaks to me in the same language.
    LikeReply2 years ago
  • sqs4guru
    Very well said. Very profound.
    Feeling much the same at a similar age.
    LikeReply2 years ago
  • fxkortuem.111
    At seventy-four years old, with me, it hit the nail on the head.
    LikeReply2 years ago


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"Still Living" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 15 Jul 2024. <>.

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