How to be old—we're all learning

Finding my brand as an old woman—a poem

A dear little old feminist poet who wouldn’t hurt a fly

A kind man offered to develop my brand.
I said, I don’t think you understand
that I am extremely old
and way beyond
the need for a personal brand.
On the other hand…
I once had a public persona
a jester’s role, call it a brand.

In the seventies and eighties
I was a strident feminist
(there was no other sort)
and I shouted loud and proud
and mean and bold
waking up my sisters
with the story of their lives.

In the nineties and the noughties
I had a different brand—
web content pioneer—
and my voice was still excited
but my messages were clear:
they were digital and searchable
and usable and scannable
accessible and clear.

Now once again I know my place.
I’m a little old lady poet
a dear little feminist poet.
(See my bonnet? See my lavender and lace?)
My brand has shifted one more time
from shocking and alarming
to urging and informing
to positively calming.

Now that I’m almost obsolete
I do not terrify
I wouldn’t hurt a fly
(maybe I’ll swallow a fly)
but still I tell the story of your lives
whether you like it or not.
And I hope you do.
I want you to.


Excellent poem and terrible drawing cc by 2.0 Rachel McAlpine