For Noël at 60
I love my wife. Today is her 60th birthday. I got her permission to say that.
We have had significant talks in recent months about aging. Not all the accompaniments are visible, and not all are expected. But some things are firm—forever. That’s because of Christ. I wanted Noël to feel that. Hence the poem.
On Turning Sixty
Toward sixty, losses multiply.
The pace and pain we cannot stop:
How suddenly the petals dry,
And as if in agreement, drop.
And sometimes even little buds
Are lost, cut off before they bloom,
And heaven nourishes with floods
Of hopeful tears, her second womb.
How many petals yet will fall
Before the aging stems are bare?
How many losses till the call
For us, my friend, to join her there?
But if you count them, though they sting
More than the babes of Bethlehem,
Mark this: As long as Christ is king,
My love will not be one of them.