I’ve been attempting to write a poem for a friend I greatly admire. Her name is Mimi and she turned 90 years old this week. She’s my oldest friend, as in most senior, not the friend I’ve known the longest. I don’t know if she’d like me pointing that out, but if it helps, I did once have a friend who was older.
Her name was Elsie. She was 99 and an artist. She displayed her paintings in every room of her house and held her first public art show at age 96. Elsie inspired me, but I’ll write more about her at another time.
This story is about Mimi, who also inspires me.
Mimi is a poet. She’s published a stack of chapbooks, many of which are housed in the special collections section of the University of Washington library. You have to ask for them and a librarian will bring them out in a protected box for you to open and read. You may not check them out, but lucky me, Mimi has graciously gifted me copies of several.
I met Mimi in a poetry group that I joined about two years ago. I love this group. They, like poetry, have longevity. Some members have come and gone, but they’ve officially been meeting since the late 1970s.
Today’s core group is made up of eight delightful, insightful and wise women. I am not only the newest member of the group, I am the youngest. By 19 years. These women could be my mothers, but they are my friends.
Mimi is the oldest. At our meeting on Monday night, the eve of her birthday, she wore a necklace of seven silver hearts around her neck. There was one for each poet and friend at the table. The eighth heart was hers alone and it kept a spirited beat deep within her, setting the tone for the gathering: a generous, funny and warmhearted celebration, with a touch of mischief. See?
I haven’t finished my poem yet. It may sit for awhile, as drafts do. For now, I used it to find a poem within the poem. It’s the second I’ve written this week on the theme of “love is.”
Here it is, for Mimi.