How a Woman Ages


35 years of bleeding,
a wonder; how much has been shed!
The cleansing, renewal and letting go,
Earth’s magic alive in me.

Some say it is my most powerful time,
some say it is deeply unclean…
For me it is the black velvet edge of sleep –
leaning into soulful darkness –
hugging my own body
with tender memories.

I know it is coming to an end,
soon the time will arrive when it will not
and there will be grief
and relief.

You see – this is how a woman ages;
our breasts – from which you fed
on which you lay your weary head
listened to the ‘thump thump’ of this strong heart –
begin to wilt
like the keening woman,
who falls yet is fierce in her sorrow;
passionate still, but tired.

Hair begins to grow in places unfamiliar –
it tickles and softens the lines in our skin,
makes fuzzy the places that once were clear.

The waters of our bodies sometimes trickle,
like a retiring mountain stream,
when we are full with joy or rage,
our lives rich with feeling;
this moistness evidence of our passion.

Silver shines in our hair,
curls up close to our skull.
I believe wise women who came before me
live in each one.
They whisper to me and we snort and giggle.
Sometimes we shriek.

This is how a woman ages
Our bodies returning to the earth,
plainly reaching down to Her.
Our blood tranquil – our sensuality nestled
deeply in wombs that no longer shed.

This is how women have always aged.
Without pills and surgeries and plastic baggies
hopelessly trying to mimic these soft swinging full breasts.

I will age as my mother, my grandmother, my foremothers,
as all women; with some sadness and with some relief,
carried in this magnificent body –
bent and stooped –
but real,
until it is time to turn my face
and make my journey home.

By Deborah May 2010
(image by Durga Bernhard)

13 thoughts on “How a Woman Ages

  1. sigh…so beautifully said and your words have such feeling, what a joy to read…I, as one beginning to 'turn my face slowly to make my journey home',
    deeply appreciate that sacred acknowledgement from a younger person.
    Much love to you.

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