Young means young, not wonderful — a poem

Billboard of two old lovers kissing. Text: WE ARE YOUNG

C’mon. Who are you kidding? “Young” is a lexical error, desperate denial, and a sign of ageism.

Say these two lovers are eighty-two.
They may have many qualities of youth
they may be elastic, enthusiastic
they may be childlike, childish, curious, wildish
trusty, busty, lusty, gusty
brainy, zany, frantic, romantic
yearning, burning, learning, earning
they may be healthy and flexible and fit
they may be monarchs of the internet
they may be smart, they may be fun
they may leave you for dead when they go for a run
bouncy, flouncy, insecure
they may have charisma, they may have allure
they may be beautiful beyond all norms
gorgeous and cuddly and bubbly with dreams
they may be cute
but here’s the truth
one thing they do not have
it’s gone, it’s done, it’s been replaced
and that is youth.

Billboard in Seoul that is intended (I presume) to combat ageism… with a comforting lie. Shown to me by New Zealand Maggie Rainey-Smith as we walked through a few of her favourite places in Seoul. Thanks Maggie! Photo and poem by me, Rachel McAlpine: copy freely but include my name.

In this quick-fire poem I hear myself imitating Renee Taylor who wrote a furious and funny item about what old people are like in her blog The Wednesday Busk. Her rant was broader: I’ve focused on the characteristics of young people, because that’s what often lies behind cliches like “forever young”, “young at heart”, and so forth.

13 thoughts on “Young means young, not wonderful — a poem

  1. Sadje says:

    Wonderful! Love your rhyming prose!

    1. Thanks! This was rattled off in minutes.

  2. toutparmoi says:

    Well writ! Well done! “Young” is not a compliment. It’s a statement of fact. Or in this case, not.

    1. You got it.

  3. Joared says:

    Like the poem! Does young not mean more than just chronological age?

    1. It has soaked up so many meanings that they become meaningless. I think.

    1. Thought it might appeal to you!

  4. Rainee says:

    Reblogged this on Welcome to allaboutwordswa! and commented:
    A great post/poem by blogger friend, Rachel McAlpine from New Zealand (currently in Seoul).

    1. Thank you Rainer!

      1. Love this.

  5. nrhatch says:

    Fabulous poem. And spot on!

    They are NOT young.
    They may be Fabulous, but they are NOT young.

    1. You got it loud and clear! (How did it come to this?)

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