I was inspired today by a piece written for Autumn Voices by David Donnison. See

David Donnison died in May  this year, but he was 92 when he wrote the piece for Autumn Voices. Please read it for yourselves. I think you will find it encouraging and inspiring. If you’re over 60 you will also find opportunities for promoting your writing. The book Autumn Voices was launched last month in Edinburgh & Glasgow and the website makes for interesting reading too.

These days, not many regard ‘three score years and ten’ as old. Well, maybe that’s not quite true as younger folk will still regard that as ancient. I can remember the time when I thought anyone over forty was old.

It has been said that, generally speaking, we consider someone old if they are sixteen years older than we are at the time. I can’t remember who cited this, but I can see what they meant. The ‘old age goal posts’ definitely shift as we ourselves get older.

We may not feel very different ‘inside’ but a glance in the mirror reminds us of how much time has passed.

Past Reflective (After trying on a hat in BHS)

A look in the mirror

what do I see?

I see my old mother

looking at me.


Look in the mirror,

take off the hat.

Thank God for that,

it’s my own face back.


In the light of day or

the black of the night?

age sneaked up

like the apple tree’s blight.


(And now even BHS is a thing of the past!)




Cultivating Friendships

Sometimes, walking round the garden and looking at different plants, I remember friends from the past. Many plants are associated with old friends. The plants themselves become old friends and they remind us of the people who gave them to us, or who carefully divided  large clumps of  favourites to share with others.

                      Remembering Olga

 In your seventies, you ‘lived adventurously’.

Friends suspected madness, but were wrong.

After years of caring you were free

to create a garden of rooms

with hedges to shelter kniphofia,

crocosmia, rambling roses.

Birds flocked there, your pond was

lit by damselflies, flashes of iridescent blue.

The garden was your love;

friends found a peace there,

absorbed your love of life,

a life where worry wasn’t welcome.

You and your elderly dog, two old ladies together,

‘walking cheerfully over the world’,

an inspiration to any young

who dreaded being old.

On your birthday, aged  ninety three,

you wheeled a barrow load of weeds towards me,

brushed errant strands of hair with garden hands,

smiled and offered tea.

You came to rest there, lying in the garden,

Secateurs by your side, not to be used again.

A slender vase of your crocosmia sits on my table

cheerful, colourful, defying sadness.