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Faded Beauty - These Days

Arts Richmond

Online - 10 February 2021

Faded Beauty - These Days

Faded Beauty – These Days

by Carol Wain   

The phrase projects for me a certain image
Of an ageing film star in a darkened mansion,
Slowly descending grand stairs to flashing lights -
Gloria Swanson – or another older actress in this role?
I saw the musical version some some years ago.

This comes to men and mansions too, but ever more
We think of a woman, well past sixty, if not fifty:
High cheekboned, slim figure but with tell-tale lines;
Or these days, that fixed grin of plastic surgery,
Hair carefully dyed or straggled streaks of grey.

Female, past that magic age where all seems fine,
I've been through this mill race, hanging on for years
To whatever looks I had, playing the merry widow;
Till common sense and practicality took over;
An inevitable shift in stage to my crone age.

Old trees and once new buildings show it too:
The ancient woods of middle England; Border castles
Over centuries decayed, yet aged in grandeur;
Huge oaks reveal their hollow trunks where children play;
Abandoned castles, abbeys crumble; yet they stay.

Give us the serenity to accept what we can't change -
As baby boomer rock chicks slowly turn the page. 

[Note: Many know the film Sunset Boulevard, recently a musical too: an ageing star clings on to her past youth, hiding away. Society still rates "improved-upon" old age in women harshly: "mutton dressed as lamb"?  Buildings and trees also slowly decline, retaining their past splendour.  Should we accept it with grace? Written as that strange Lockdown year 2020, when we were all confined indoors, drew to an end. ]

Copies of the ‘ABOUT TIME’ Anthology, which consists of shortlisted entries from The Roger McGough Poetry Prize can be purchased for £5, including P&P from ArtsRichmond


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