Encouraged by Virginia Woolf - Our Ode to Midlife

Meditations on Venus from All Things Are Always Changing

Mrs. Dalloway, written by Virginia Woolf in 1925, suggested some of our own experience in the world. Midlife brings a new consciousness of simultaneous past and future.

She felt very young; at the same time unspeakably aged. She sliced like a knife through everything, at the same time was outside, looking on. She had a perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very , very dangerous to live even one day.

We shared Clarissa's feelings about the way the world looked at a middle-aged matron:

That she held herself well was true; and had nice hands and feet; and dressed well, considering that she spent little. But often now this body she wore...this body, with all its capacities, seemed nothing--nothing at all. She had the oddest sense of being herself invisible, unseen; unknown; there being no more marrying, no more sense of having of children now, but only this astonishing and rather solemn progress with the rest of them, up Bond Street, this being Mrs. Dalloway; not even Clarissa any more; this being Mrs. Richard Dalloway.
Meditation (Metamorphosis)

Our outburst in 2003 was not so genteel:

thinning hair

the bush is bare

now the heart is bleedy

the body; needy.

What does it take to be saved?

still quivering sex

begins to mascerate




What does it take to be saved?

numberless trifling matters

breeding extraordinary matters too numberless for keeping score.

Pelvic floor? out the door.

No more sloffing of the womb,

changed alignments of the moon

on the wane

different stain.

Night’s hot waves flaccid,

rolling over

dimpled stone

thinning bone

What does it take to be saved?

very cold, very strange

sliding down the slippery slope

no hope

for repair.


what makes this fair?

shed a breast

lose a womb

amble toward the tomb

is this what it is to be saved?

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