Welcome to Sunday Morning Lyricality, featuring a weekly song or poem by a Minnesota writer. Our current guest editor is Judith Feenstra.

This poem, the last in October’s four-part series, typifies aging in a social context. Beyond personal attributes, life-course opportunities (present or not), or historic life-changing events,  we now catch a glimpse of a shared age-related experience. In this prose poem, Will Hecht illustrates the cohesion of relationships and tradition, along with the topics and mood that generally pervades older adult conversations.

Note: Devices may reformat this poem to make it easier to read for people with visual impairment. Please refer to the image of the poem below, to view “Retirement On Lake Time” in its original format.

Judith Feenstra

Retirement On Lake Time
Will Hecht

< i >

This time it’s a weekend respite from whatever one is engaged with during the humdrum
of each jive week’s 9-to-5 — so it happens that oohs and aahs escape stiff bodies 
exiting air-conditioned transportation devices that have carried unwanted weight 
for the past 2+ hours — twee urbanites, we do a slow shuffle, squint and scan, 
offer this arboreal-with-lake-view location rah! rah! raves as is the unstated but polite 
requirement for visitors, even if family — hugs all around; quick quips with witty grins cross
dry lips closer now to a frosty cold one; an easy chatter fills the warm air — suspended 
is the self-imposed time and space distance with which aging siblings surround themselves
while moving closer to a shared memory of parents no longer present midst this 
perennial northern Minnesota summer scene : loons float on the lake 

​​​​​​< ii >

In time stories unwind: Children here and there, futures bright for those planning futures, 
others move back and forth between futures; aging aches and pains are reviewed 
with all the thoughtfulness a medical degree might offer, and marketing colorful,
sure cure medications gets prime time; some relive travel adventures beneath unfamiliar 
skies, stars ascending in translation, then after-dinner drinks descend, translation getting lost; 
the pet people ruffle no feathers when sharing insight into the fine art of picking up 
the pieces; “State of the State” in Minnesota gets a brief mention, no translation needed 
although the belief of some is that its language sounds foreign, then describe in detail a 
fossilized world view and their oppressed needs : sadness echoes in the air

​​​​​​< iii >

Once upon a time our world was bright and gay, an endless summer of tomorrows 
would always come, an infinity of Rock-n-Roll played throughout an expanding sunshine 
daydream universe, a melodious and meaningful constant; this is not that time, now
shadows of mothers and fathers meander the forest floor surrounding this cabin enclave 
of children who have migrated into finite 4-season rhythms; increasingly, warm weather 
attracts, talk goes on and on about the variables involved when keeping warm, 
401K warm — it seems everyone is acutely aware of the changing seasons, more so 
than ever before as out loud voices contemplate a time when and where tomorrow 
will never come : loneliness drifts by  

​​​​​​< iv >​​​​    
 ​loons float on the lake 
sadness echoes in the air 
​loneliness drifts by

“Retirement on the Lake” by Will Hecht

***

Will Hecht
Householder living & writing in Little Falls MN — Member, League Of Minnesota Poets — Librarian in previous life — Writing seven years, poetry prompted by sights & sounds of people / places / phenomena — Enjoys roaming Twin Cities for pizza & pastries.

“Retirement on the Lake” by Will Hecht, in original format, appears with permission of the poet.