An Alphabet for Aging


40 pages
5" x 5" single signature with hand sewn binding
Published January 2017

In these quiet, yet spirited, five-line meditations on aging, Joan Johnson packs joy, resignation, self-awareness and reflection into only twenty-two syllables per poem.  A lot happens in these cinquains, a cousin to the more-familiar haiku form.  Each one-word title effectively adds another line to the poem.  The author moves through the alphabet from Decluttering to Lessons to Vision, concisely summing up her views on life.  In Wisdom, the speaker reflects on her full life: “I’ve learned through the lens / of layered years how best to spend / my tears.”  In Immigrant, she describes aging as a foreign land with new music and language.  While most of these poems invoke peace, this is not a speaker sitting in a rocker on the front porch, watching the world pass her by.  In Quarrelsome, the speaker lets us know she will “spike the stew of peace with / pepper-spiced words, watch how I’ve fueled / the steam.”