Who do you think you are, old woman?

Drawing of old woman in a chair. To the left, a jumble of stars, adventures, people, and previous selves; on the right, a closed door and a flower.

Who do you think you are, old woman?

I am full of myself
I am too big for my boots
I have peaked too soon

I am a ballerina
semi-detached at the waist
I am a digger in moonlight

I am a sweet old lady
I am a scarlet woman
I am a crow of intensity

I am a daughter
I am a kettle of rainbow bits
that do not fit

I am a dunny of cobwebs
I am a subtle slump
that breaks your heart

I am nobody
I was somebody
I am a body

I am serene
I am struggling
I don’t want to open the door


These thoughts well up from within myself. And when I see an old person who is not known to me, I wonder if they also think such thoughts. Drawing and poem CC BY 2.0 Rachel McAlpine — if you like them, please share.

9 thoughts on “Who do you think you are, old woman?

  1. Wow! Powerful poetry! Powerful self-understanding. We are all more complex than we sometimes realize. Now I need to quiet down and search my old lady self…

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Just one of many ways to see ourselves…

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I rarely think of how I look to others. That is something to ponder.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      That’s interesting. It might be unusual…

  3. JOY journal says:

    The title of this poem was at the top of my inbox when I opened my email. You gave me a start, then a laugh!!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      It’s a fair question, right?

  4. Amazing and powerful and feels so very true.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I am always pleased when a personal poem resonates with another person. It seems so unlikely that we can identify with a specific experience, but it happens with poems.

  5. I particularly like the kettle refererence as I wrote a poem some time ago about an old kettle and always felt it was symbolic of myself … As I enter old age it is proving great fodder for poetry!

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