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
100

Quick analysis:

Scheme AA BB CC DD EE FF GG HH II CC JJ KK
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...

5 Comments
  • 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" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 15 Jul 2024. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/131640/still-living>.

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