This poem came out of the January 6, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from Anthony Barrette. It also fills the "elderhood" square in my 12-30-15 card
for the Rites of Passage fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette."Fireside Rights"
There are earned benefits
to becoming an elder --
the seat closest to the hearth
on a cold winter's night,
the chance to tell the first story
at the beginning of a long evening,
the luxury of sleeping late
after the sun crests the horizon.
These graces are bequeathed by
the long years of labor that precede them --
splitting logs and carrying wood
to stoke the fire all winter,
going on grand adventures
as a wild young thing,
getting up to tend small children
and to go to work.
Then it is time to retire with dignity
and rest secure in what has been stored away --
time to let others do the chopping and hoeing,
the trading of goods and services,
time to let someone else run after the children
and bring them over for visits,
time to slow the swift steps
to keep pace with the seasons.
Though the work be hard and the waiting long,
think of the fireside rights to come of them.