Patterns and surprise—poem

I see patterns here. I see surprises too.

4 hats, an old trophy, and a very old certificate

Patterns and surprise

(This is the poem that I read and talk about in Episode 8 of my podcast, How To Be Old)

Poets love patterns and surprise
and I get both each morning
a routine and a shock.
I wake at six and think some thoughts
excitement rising all the while
(I woke up! I get to live another day!)
and meditate and feed the cat.
I celebrate routines and rituals
and habits and models and clocks.
Outside now in my bare feet
under a sky that’s a child with a secret
that won’t be a secret for long
I do t’ai chi in the same old place
in a world that is new every day
(is it frosty is it misty is it rainy is it fine?
Am I in South Georgia or Geneva or Fiji?)
Surprise! Surprise! It’s a brand new day.
And when I’m finished I swallow the sky
and I say, “Good morning world.
I am still with you!”
or “Thank you for having me!”
or “What can I do for you today?”

Rachel McAlpine (c) 2019


A feral ngaio tree in a pot in flower: what patterns, what a surprise!


7 thoughts on “Patterns and surprise—poem

  1. Sadje says:

    Inspiring poem.

  2. alison41 says:

    What a lovely poem! as Sadje said: Inspiring. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I love knowing that you have read and appreciated it. Thank you!

  3. Beautiful. I am grateful to be alive 🙂

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Lucky lucky us!

  4. Gallivanta says:

    Lovely. And how surprised and delighted I would be to find a feral ngaio in my garden.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Thank you. Growing up in Canterbury I didn’t know these lovely trees until midlife. Their spotty leaves, their secret flowers, their globular mass!

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