Poem Hunter
On My 40th Birthday
(1965 / Abor, Volta Region, Ghana)

On My 40th Birthday

Poem By Padmore Enyonam Agbemabiese

last night
before I lay down to sleep
I prayed the Lord my shape to keep
to let no wrinkles come.
nor age spots to grow
where once my youthful vigor
radiated and I was youthfully young

I asked the Lord
not to let gray hairs show
nor my limbs to grow numb

you know what the Lord did?
he brought me to a forest of flowers
I gaped at the animation of life
nothing remains permanent, He said,
for everything there is a season
night must give way to sunrays
vapors must rise to fall back as rain
fire must beget cold ashes
so when a tree dies it is the stub that grows instead

long ago my Grandma said,
the longer you live
the more you sin against God
to die is a virtue God gave us
so everybody must change faces
like we change our dresses

this evening, I thank God for growing old
age is a price to pay for maturity
though a new broom sweeps clean,
the old brush knows all the corners best
if you refuse to grow
you'll miss a good broad smile
as to have a silver head
is like to kiss an angel a good morning

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Comments (1)

lovely poem. i enjoyed it. gaveit a seven.