Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

From Dr. E: Blessing-Poem, “One Day When I Was Old”

In Blessing-Poems from Dangerous Old Woman fireside on April 25, 2010 at 1:04 AM

Here’s is the blessing-poem  for you from the first release of The Dangerous Old Woman manuscript, fireside #2. It is called, “One Day When I Was Old” and  was written twice, having some of the same lines fore and aft, as in curanderismo chant.

Peace be with you, good souls.

with love,

dr.e

———————————————

“One Day When I Was Old”

by CP Estés


I remember one day when I was young,

forty-five years or so old,

I woke up an old woman that morning.

Not quite in body all the way, but close.

And also in mind.

And I thought, “This is good.”

For also, in the face I was changed,

a little bark-chipped and creased,

like a tree long-lived enough

after having been planted so long ago

by some winged bird

accidentally letting fall a semi-sacred seed

into some almost impossible place,

precisely the way most of us came to earth–

unplanned, and yet sticking to the place

where we were dropped,

growing, growing flowers and fruits

set into our DNA–

and this too was good.


I leaned through the window

of my bathroom mirror,

and touched her old, cracked face…

I soothed back her black hair

with fire opals

in its strands of white.


And I saw as I leaned in,

There were permanent diamonds

in her tear ducts,

those gotten from years of use

and pressure in dark places.


And I gazed at the body

she and I share,

and I saw that rubies

had grown into all my cuts

and that tiny mirrors shone

in all my widders and spalls…


and I saw that I was old

and strong

and delicate

and fierce, like a queen

who has ruled the lands within her reach,

not perfectly, but despite brutal winters,

she was still alive,

the heartwood hardened off just enough,

the tender capillaries still able to carry

the juice and the warmth.


And then, twenty-some years later,

I crossed the crone line,

wearing the tissue-paper crown

with the sacred words “Still here,

still standing…”

engraved upon it.

These words of triumph for all of us elders,

these words “Still here… Still standing,”

they’re the ultimate royal “Ha!”,

the ultimate para la vida “Ha!”,

to life, with life, all of life, filled with life.

Us, crossed now, the crone line,

para la vida, filled with life.


I remember one day when I was young,

forty-five years old or so,

I woke up an old woman that morning.

Not in body quite all the way, but close.

Also in mind, and this was good.

And also in the face I was changed

with all the marks of rings like a tree,

and this too was good.


I looked at my body

and saw that rubies had grown

in all my cuts,

and mirrors shone in all the widders and spalls.

And I saw I was old and strong,

like a queen who had ruled herself

not perfectly, but well.


And I leaned in and touched her old, cracked face,

and I saw the permanent diamonds in her tear ducts

that were gotten from years of hard use

and pressure in dark places.


I remember one day when I was young,

forty-five years old or so,

I woke up an old woman.

And I have been more and more free

ever since.

______________________

CODA

And so may it be for you.

And so may it be for me.

And so may it be for all of us.

Amen.

And as my grandmother used to say,

“Amen… and a little woman.”

_______________________

“One Day When I Was Old,” a blessing-poem by CP Estés, Copyright ©1990, 2010, All Rights Reserved, including but not limited to electronic, performance, theatrical, musical, graphic, film, commercial, derivitive. Uses: You are welcome to use this blessing poem in non-commercial ways without adding to nor deleting any part, just using the work in its entirety along with author’s name and this copyright notice attached. Thank you. Other permissions: Ngandelman@aol.com

Multiple Media artwork, “One Day When I Was Old, The Old Woman Came Calling” by CP Estés, ©2009. All Rights Reserved. Same permissions as blessing-poem.

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  1. Dear Dr. E:
    Your words are homeopathy going in on a cellular level. Tiny small and Huge large: a paradoxical medicine. Muchisimas Gracias

    (Note: I am volunteering across the street from the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Santa Fe, NM) My old neighborhood, I volunteer at the unemployment office). She is beautiful next to the day laborers looking for work. Hello and thanks for being born, for being young, for being old, for being you… Lou J.

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