Sometimes Glad, Sometimes Sorry: Eighty-two-year Inventory

Ten hammertoes, one absent mind,
two weak legs, one eye blind,
two ears deafened, one dry mouth,
nine new teeth, height gone south,
pain in neck, double chin,
two hunched shoulders, withered skin,
one breast dented, swerving spine,
one hip jutting out of line,
clumsy brace and beat-up crutch,
bent-back knee – it’s all too much!


Knobby fingers, feeble hand,
not too steady – still I stand.
Thinning hair, memory dim,
no more driving– still I swim.


Lungs still clear, okay liver,
ride my scooter by the river.
Hudson fogs, sunset waters,
beloved brother, super daughters,
their good husbands, Mone and Josie,
dear live-in chef, steaks real rosy.
Two Mets, Whitney, MOMA, Frick,
the Y, the Neue – take your pick.
Brilliant bridges light the dark,
rowboats, Shakespeare, Central Park,
women’s groups, locked-up writers,
protest marches, freedom fighters,
voice gone hoarse – still I sing,
drink in jazz, eat everything,
mango sorbet, lots of rum,
steady heartbeat, peaceful tum,
good digestion, no more tumor,
don’t get jokes but sense of humor,
loyal friends, poems and stories –
not too bad, my inventories!


Author's Comment

So many things were wrong with me, it was getting me down. So for my birthday I started listing them – always good to put your problems outside of you, in writing. Then I thought of rhyme and added the good things; the process became a delight. I felt so much better! I urge others to make inventories, whether in rhyme or not. Maybe it will  become a new genre.



A retired professor of literature, Bell Gale Chevigny has published widely on social and cultural themes. Her books include The Woman and the Myth: Margaret Fuller's Life and Writings, Chloe and Olivia (a novel) and Doing Time: 25 Years of Prison Writing, A PEN American Center Anthology.