Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “old

Growth Haiku


old me sees new me;

walks up, shakes her hand and says,

“pleasure to meet you!”

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Aunt Sarah’s Chirren


Photo by Brandon Allen Photography

what are my chirren’s names?
i done had so many,
seen lives blow through wind like ragweed, mm hmm.
my woman-parts at one time were like
a train station–
men whistlin’, comin’ and leavin’.
i never loved the ones who came,
but the ones who left?
chiiiillle,
they carry pieces of my heart with them in their pockets,
pull me out of their wallets like crisp dollar bills at the liquor sto’
and roll me and smoke me in their funny cigarettes.
baby, i am like ash,
shakin’ free,
black and grayish-white,
once on fire
but lookin closer to death than life.


Newborn Baby Tears for My Old Self


sometimes i still cry for the old me
and i feel guilty cuz
the new me is
happy.

but i miss the old me’s extremes–
blind faith and concrete
black and white ideals
until evil jet black pushed into petrified pink
surprisingly, painfully.

suffering isn’t ideal.
neither are tears and grief
for a version of myself
mummified by cries that came so often
that when tears ran out,
a new woman appeared:

tougher skin,
sharper words,
deeper melancholy buried in
soft soil of smiles
and brutal honesty.
she is beauty all while
crying internally,
confused at her existence:
a newborn baby
with a 25-year-old body.


Old Me


i now sometimes wonder where
the old me went.
did she die a miserable death
to match her painful existence?
or does she live in my chest,
keeping my heart beating
through reminders of what she used to be?
or maybe she still lives in me,
a skinny, emaciated girl
underneath the skin of a woman
who smiles even when she’s sleeping now.

her tears keep me hydrated
and her scars only make me more beautiful.
her pain i wear like a necklace of rememberance,
perfect pearls all unique. wherever she went,
i’m happy she’s not as present
when i look in the mirror,
glad that when i dance now,
she’s not stepping on my feet.

she kisses my feet now,
washes them with tears
and absorbs the fluid in her afro hair.
she serves me
and is near,
perhaps closer than i think she is.

i think she is me–
only happy.


Old Love Haiku


old love is perfume
stuck in my favorite scarf,
hanging on by threads.


A Rethinking of Wrinkles


dear Elizabeth,

as i close my eyes and imagine an age
that seems so far away
(which in actuality
is not so),
i realize that my youthful thoughts
fail to hold
all the meaning and significance
of wisdom.

wrinkles are evidence of freedom
because they show that the wearer of them
broke down heavy barriers and walls, saw
many rainy nights and wind-whipping days,
but survived all of them
like war-heroes who wear medals of age
on their faces and skin.

i pray i will make it to that time
and that i will celebrate when my smile lines
sink in to the corners of my eyes
and when the veins in my hands rise
like mountains to show my strength.
i’ve almost died so many times
that life almost seems too unkind
to allow me to see look into my future
without hope being jaded and blind.

i equate age with loneliness
because as i have grown older,
i’ve looked to my left and my right
and find that old friends have dropped by the wayside
and this is when i’m in my prime!
so when i’m just an odd number
that can be divided into many factors,
i wonder what amount of so-called compadres
will remember my birthday;
how many will be there to rejoice in my victories
and to console me when all i have
is tears to wash over me.

it’s a scary and curious thing,
and in my age of questioning,
i can’t help but wonder and appreciate
a wrinkly old woman who has changed
my perspective,
shown me that there’s more than one route
to approaching life
and that there is value
in the poems i write.

thank you…


Idle Moments


sometimes in my idle moments
that rarely come,
i wonder if
the frequent idle moments
that will surely come
when I’m a wrinkly old woman
will be spent alone.

i’m too busy for love–
glued to my goals
but will the future success mean as much
if i live in an empty home?
right now i don’t know
and i hope i won’t have to find out.
i hope these questions won’t come across my mind
at idle times
because the thoughts on my mind
will be characterized by love and happiness
rather than the prospect
of loneliness.