“Old Age Requires the Greatest Courage” by Red Hawk

Red Hawk


The greatest courage is not needed for war,
but for ordinary people growing old.
Like soldiers, the aged are never very far
from death: many are called,
all are chosen. A soldier faces danger
then retreats, but for the old, going back
is not possible; they may hunger
for youth but pray for the luck
of a quick death. When one by one
the body’s systems fail, they must be brave
and face annihilation of the flesh and bone,
the Soul clinging like a shipwrecked sailor, to love;
finally, love is all we are given
to navigate between exhaustion and heaven.

from Rattle #50, Winter 2015
Rattle Poetry Prize Finalist


Red Hawk: “By the Grace and Mercy of Our Creator poems are given. My task is to remain open and vulnerable, to not interfere with incoming energy, to receive with Gratitude. By that same Grace and Mercy, sometimes I am given a poem which requires revision and allows me to participate in the creation. Old age is the present condition; the great trap of old age is succumbing to the urge to lie down and rest. Thus, courage is required to go on in the face of one’s inevitable weakening and doom. Everything is grist for the poet’s work.”

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