Slow–a poem

Why do you stereotype
your future selves, the old?
Because we’re slow.
It’s true, we know it.
Our speech is slow
as we search for the word we want
or another word that would do.

We’re slow at walking
slow at pulling on our shoes
You hurry us but no
we must be slow or else
we lose our wallets
or fail to turn off the stove.

Slow is all the rage—
unless it’s our adagio
enraging you, you
who are so desperate to go
you who have been ranked from birth
on how quick you were
to crawl and walk and talk
and smile and be right.

But now you frown.
You rank us low and know
you’ll never be that slow
unless you join the crowd who now
aspire to go slow
learning from books and blogs
all about slow travel

slow cooking slow thinking
slow aging slow knowing.
Excuse me please.
Here we are
right under your nose
teaching by example
the glorious habits of slow.

You are tourists in our land.
We are the prisoners of slow.
That said,
we’d rather be quick than slow
but we’d rather be slow
than dead.

Rachel McAlpine 2019 cc by 2.0 — please share 🙂

Oh the paradox. The very quality in old people that exasperates some people is also perceived as highly desirable. We get it: taking time to relish every simple pleasure. But it didn’t come naturally.  We used to rush like you. We used to be famous for it. We had to learn to be patient and grateful and calm.

Cartoon. Young woman exasperated by two snails climbing up stairs.

Yes, old people are slow. So will you be one day.

25 thoughts on “Slow–a poem

  1. Sadje says:

    Exactly, if they are lucky to get to the age.

  2. JOY journal says:

    Well that last line or two would make a great T-shirt. 🙂 (I was actually pretty slow when I was really young, too.)

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Then in old age you will be dignified, instead of puzzled, like me.

  3. LA says:


  4. Slow is the new quick. I like slow…

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I’m happy to hear that you like slow. I’m learning.

      1. As we get older, we don’t have a choice!

  5. Interesting that studies are indicating that practising mindfulness reduces stress and inflammation. So perhaps slowing down as we get older is an adaptive response that will let us live longer.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      What a marvellous concept. I’ll buy it.

  6. Slow defines me… and I’m OK with that! Cute poem!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Yes, that’s the goal, to be ok with slow.

  7. iidorun says:

    I love this! I know life comes around full circle. The things that annoy me about my 4 yo child are the same the same things that get under my skin with my 70 yo father. Patience is love is what I have to remind myself!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Very true and you are only human. Thank you.

    2. And thanks a million for sharing this post! I really am grateful.

      1. iidorun says:

        Of course! I love to connect people to blogs that are relevant when I can! ❤️

  8. Cathy Cade says:

    I found it really difficult to slow down to my husband’s pace when he was waiting for his hip replacement operations, but our 15 year old Staffie loved having the time to stop and stiff. He still isn’t Usain Bolt, but I can match his pace now without having to stop and wait for him.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      That must have been a stark and sudden contrast for you both. So glad he’s getting back to normal. Two women in our dance groups have had hip replacements so I have good models in case it happens to me. They were both fully committed to post-op rehabilitation exercising, as you can imagine.

  9. beetleypete says:

    I have slowed down for seven years now, since I retried. Time to stop and see things, instead of just looking at them in passing.
    Many thanks for following my blog, Rachel.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      There’s beauty in that, but I so hope you are not in such pain now.

      1. beetleypete says:

        The back injury is much better now, thanks. 🙂

  10. srbottch says:

    Terrific. I’m older (will never be ‘old’, just ‘older’) and I love being ‘slow’. I tell the cashiers at checkout, ‘I’m in no hurry, slow down’. The kids who run across my crossing post, I advise them to ‘slow down, I got the traffic’. So many instances of ‘slowness’ but I’ll stop here, you’re probably in a hurry! By the way, i love the ending of your poem. 😊👍

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Good work, keep it up! No, oddly enough, I’m not in a hurry. You can carry on with these examples all day as far as I’m concerned. Thank you.

  11. Elizabeth says:

    I’m all about slow. Slow cooker too.

  12. Thanks for directing me to this, Rachel. You expressed it in a way that was simultaneoulsy whimsical and poignant- not an easy thing to do. As you know, I don’t “do” slow very well. Although of late, it seems I’m running at full spead on a treadmill or hamster wheel or whatever anology adequately conveys, that it feels like I’m going nowhere fast, and nowhere is a place I would like to move on from as fast as possible.
    All to say, I love your writing, perspective, spirit, and hutzpah- refreshing and inspiring, to say the very least.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Brooke, I’m so glad my writing hits the spot for you. I know that lovely feeling when I read something that I need to be reminded of at that very moment. And I know you’ll work out how to hop off that treadmill and find another trail. You’re good at that.

%d bloggers like this: