Poem: False Expectations

They say
you can tell the soul of a society
in how its’  youth and elderly
are treated

This then is my testimony
from a heart that grieves

Youth are killed
in their classrooms
sacrificed on the altar of gun rights 

Youth suffer on our borders
parentless and neglected
as political pawns of tyrants

Youth are emotionally
traumatized in a culture
unconducive to the fragility
of developing life and
leading to self destruction

And the false expectations
of our elderly completely
ignore their most authentic true selves

The false expectations of elderly
as having nothing more to offer resulting
in being ignored and warehoused

The false expectations
that aging is extended youth
and continued engaging in its’
ambitions and frenetic busyness

Youth are treated as
personal and political pawns of adults
ignored in their fragility and developing

Elderly are socially divided into groups:
those having nothing to offer ‘in their dotage’
or those ‘staying young and active’

Youths’ promise is unfullfilled:
learning the lessons
of the first half of life,
developing resilience
and potential in a safe,
healthy, and generative environment

Elderly authenticity is not valued:
honored as belonging in community
grounded in second half of life
competencies, lived experience of our story,
and staying put and eldering 

As a society, we are too easily distracted
from the eternal faith and hope
of our diverse ancestors
expressed in various spiritual traditions
over time and place
the perennial, alternative narrative
of authenticity and truth,
and it all promising
a homecoming and a home
from exile and oppression

This is my testimony, oh Divine Universal Creator,
save us from the false narrative
of false expectations and false promises;
deliver us from exile, coming home again,
all belonging in unity

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
June 2019


Art by Luke Mallie, Carrying on Our Culture

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