Looking Back


illustrator:Molly Idle


by Sharon Bryan

Middle age refers more
to landscape than to time:
it’s as if you’d reached

the top of a hill
and could see all the way
to the end of your life,

so you know without a doubt
that it has an end—
not that it will have,

but that it does have,
if only in outline—
so for the first time

you can see your life whole,
beginning and end not far
from where you stand,

the horizon in the distance—
the view makes you weep,
but it also has the beauty

of symmetry, like the earth
seen from space: you can’t help
but admire it from afar,

especially now, while it’s simple
to re-enter whenever you choose,
lying down in your life,

waking up to it
just as you always have—
except that the details resonate

by virtue of being contained,
as your own words
coming back to you

define the landscape,
remind you that it won’t go on
like this forever.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. joyacey
    Jan 29, 2016 @ 15:37:28

    I may be wrong but isn’t the illustration you used by Molly Idle , a children’s illustrator from Arizona?


  2. jeannepoland
    Jan 30, 2016 @ 10:28:00

    Thank you so much. Facebook got me all confused. There was Idle hiding in the alphabet soup! Hawaii had to set me straight! The correction is made, secret editor!


  3. joyacey
    Jan 30, 2016 @ 16:35:43

    Jeanne, You might want to make the correction in your tags too.


  4. jeannepoland
    Jan 31, 2016 @ 09:23:34

    Thank you, Sharpie!


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