Silver (for Suzy Moore) by Jeannette Encinias

“How many years of beauty do I have left?
she asks me.
How many more do you want?
Here. Here is 34. Here is 50.
When you are 80 years old
and your beauty rises in ways
your cells cannot even imagine now
and your wild bones grow luminous and
ripe, having carried the weight
of a passionate life.
When your hair is aflame
with winter
and you have decades of
learning and leaving and loving
sewn into
the corners of your eyes
and your children come home
to find their own history
in your face.
When you know what it feels like to fail
ferociously
and have gained the
capacity
to rise and rise and rise again.
When you can make your tea
on a quiet and ridiculously lonely afternoon
and still have a song in your heart
Queen owl wings beating
beneath the cotton of your sweater.
Because your beauty began there
beneath the sweater and the skin,
remember?
This is when I will take you
into my arms and coo
YOU BRAVE AND GLORIOUS THING
you’ve come so far.
I see you.
Your beauty is breathtaking.

Silver

This is a poem I started passing on to a few of my beautiful silver-haired friends this week after being introduced to it by my friend Maureen who was reading it to her elderly mother. This morning I decided it’s too good to not to share with all of you – silver or not, woman or not, young or old – a gift of recognition of the beauty of a well lived life.

How many years of beauty do I have left? How’s that for an opening question we might all be asking ourselves, at any age, though not in the traditional sense of the word. By the time you reach 80 (are you there yet? do you know someone who is?), she tells us your beauty rises in ways / your cells cannot even imagine now. Can you imagine? And how your wild bones grow luminous and / ripe, having carried the weight / of a passionate life. Oh my! Now your hair aflame with winter, your learning and leaving and loving show in the tender lines around your eyes and your children find their own history / in your face. This is beauty, the beauty of an aging face, a face with wisdom written on it.

This is the time of life when you understand what it feels like to fail / ferociously – love the fierceness of that failure, and also the resilience to rise and rise and rise again. Even in inevitable loneliness to still have a song in your heart, to feel that heart beating with the strength of an owl’s wings, a Queen remembering her beauty. This is no surface beauty superficially admired but the goddess within beneath the sweater and the skin.

May this poem remind you of your own loveliness, how far you have come and know that you are seen. I see you. / Your beauty is breathtaking.

19 thoughts on “Silver (for Suzy Moore) by Jeannette Encinias

  1. This poem is just what I need this morning & forever on Jan! Thank you so much for sharing it.
    A uniquely inspiring gift that I will cherish forever…
    Warmly, f

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  2. Dear Jan,
    I cried as I read this beautiful poem. I have struggled at times as I’ve observed the progression of ‘silverness’ in my own reflection. Startled in moments when I’ve expected that more youthful version of me to be there. But ever so gradually I have come to appreciate the journey that is etched in every line on my face and silver strand in my hair. I am comforted by the song in my heart.
    I love this poem – thank you Jan.
    Love you, Lisa

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  3. “have gained the capacity to rise and rise and rise again” brought me to tears. I also dad truth-bumps. Thank you for this wise and wonderful selection, Suzanne

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  4. Marvellous poem, Jan! “your beauty rises in ways/ your cells cannot even imagine now”: may we trust in not knowing! Thanks for introducing me to it. xoxoxo

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  5. Jan, this is so beautiful. there are others I’ll share it with and its going on my frig right now.

    Thank you, thank you, Margaret 613-725-6941 h 613-795-9879 c

    Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

    – Oscar Wilde.

    >

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  6. The fierce process of aging, becoming wallpaper or background noise, is deadening sometimes more than the body’s wearing down. This poem is a wonderful gift— a cardinal flying above snowdrifts, whose body is what we remember of RED. Thank you!!

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