Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Gravity Wins

Gravity wins, hands down

also boobs down,

jowls down,

eyelids in perpetual droop.

Here's the latest scoop:

what doesn't go down and out

(knee caps, belly buttons, derriรจres)

goes down and in

(wrinkles at the mouth, crinkles near the eye,

thigh flesh that sags first, then

makes little pockets

each big enough to fit a jelly bean in).

There are tricks to shoring up this sliding off:

aerobics, diet, avocado facials,

toxins injected into the skin, Pilates, swimming laps,

Oil of Olay.

But it's all a sleight of hand, a grand illusion--

in the sun, you're fifty-one

in the unforgiving bedside light

when the flying buttress bra is on the floor

or the froth of lace and chiffon gown is hanging on the door

you are what you've become

And if you're lucky and he's nearsighted or he loves you

it doesn't matter. Much.

Marriage is better that way

I've heard a husband say,

"For me, I'll always see the woman I first saw thirty years before."

For those of us without that all-redeeming memory

just do the best you can

work on the inside

which time improves

and as for the outside

be grateful you were never absolutely gorgeous

or you'd be really devastated now.

                Copyright ©2012 Toby Devens

I mentioned this poem in my last post about the Olympics and got some requests on the blog and via my email at readers@tobydevens.com to post it. Love to hear your comments!


  1. Great poem. I've always been annoyed that guys get to look great at any age and women get to try and look younger. Or--old movie star guys keep playing the hero parts and old movie star women drift into the role of mother of the bride.

  2. I do like the poem...though the first time I read it--made me a bit depressed. LOL! Now I see the humor in it, or at least the wisdom. Keep them coming. (The poems, that is.)

  3. Funny, guys don't always look great and gravity affects them, too. But they BELIEVE they look great, no matter what, so that's what we need to strive for, too. And, well, looking saggy is better than the alternative - death is so permanent.

  4. It's not just that guys believe they look great. They are TREATED like they look great! Or--we're still attracted to them? Clint Eastwood. Paul Newman (before he died, of course) Harrison Ford. Robert Redford. To name a few.

  5. ...don't forget my fave, Tom Selig (though not his Miracle Grow eyebrows or his pro-gun leanings!)

    Men have different burdens. My formerly 6'1" dad is now 5'10" and also bent over double with osteoporosis. His skin looks like a very bruised banana and he can't make it up the stairs anymore. He doesn't give a hoot about what he looks like, but agonizes about not being able to do the laundry for my mom or help out with their great grandchildren.

    I've really missed Toby's poetry. So very nice to get a new "fix." Looking forward to more.

  6. I have a saying my family has heard many times: "Gravity is not my friend." But I'm not talking about the sags and bags (to hell with them), but about the fact that all items/ingredients remotely near the edge of my kitchen counters seem to get sucked off and crash or slop onto the floor. As for the effect of gravity on my body, I try to just be grateful it doesn't prevent me from rising from a chair, walking in the woods, and even dancing once in a while :-)

  7. The culture works hard to impose impossible standards of "beauty" on women in midlife. Our job is to recognize them, but not accept them. That doesn't mean we should neglect our appearance; after all we're interracting with others and messy, sloppy, and unkempt add up to a turn-off and may impede our progress in other important areas of our lives. Besides,looking good also helps us feel good.But, as we used to say in the 70's, "let's be real".

  8. Thanks all for the comments and kind words about my poetry. Renowned cookbook author Nancy Baggett, who responded above, has a post on her blog
    about "Waging War on Wordiness." The great thing about poetry is it distills ideas and the passion behind them into the fewest words to make the strongest impression. Also, it's fun to write.

  9. Awesome poem....how come guys don't post about 'sagging"? Oh yeah, they want us to think that "bulge" near their thigh is actually "IT" waiting for us. Real women know beauty is within. We all get our time to shine as beauties and have the pictures and memories to show it. I know I am in mid-life because I am not young enough to flash my boobs to get out of a speeding ticket or old enough to look pathetic enough to cry and have him/her feel sorry. Now I just laugh, say "yup, you got me." and suck it up. But....I will happily accept what is next. IT BEATS THE ALTERNATIVE. Love, love, love your posts. Can't wait for your next book.

  10. Good to hear from you, Jo Ellen. And you're very funny! I love how you decided you were in midlife. I never thought of it that way, but maybe it's when "flashing" takes on a new definition.

    Thanks for the kind words. This week's entry is about to go up. Look forward to hearing your comments on "Diving ito the Dating Pool."