top of page

STOIC POETRY | Old voices command small audience

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

October 28, 2019

Dear Eric,

When we are young there are many who hear; though as we age there seem fewer to listen. There is something about the ripeness of youth that draws the attention of life; like full and lustrous cherries hanging heavy on the rich bough of a cherry tree, ripe and inviting, drawing what is living close with the promise of energy, vitality and the nourishment of what is new. And this is good, as the young have very important things to say... They tell us about what is now, and what is next, and they offer promise to carry on after us once we are too weak to stand and walk on our own. The young are the vital link between ourselves and a future we will never know. And so, we listen to what they say, and we watch what they do, and we celebrate what they are and promise to someday become. This is a good thing. It is good for our species to look forward.

But the old have words as well...and sometimes even something to say, and their own time to speak, though their language may be less attractive than the ripe words of youth. For the old speak like acorns dropped from an ancient gnarled oak tree, peppering the ground below our feet among the autumn leaves. It's easy for such words to become missed, like a cool autumn wind passing by our ears, or an acorn covered up by a cloud of tumbling leaves. We are too distracted by our desire to get to and remain in the sunlight. Let us get out from under this old tree's great shade. Let's go out to the meadow there in the sun - as though the summer has just passed, it's a fine day nonetheless - and though we may not find cherries out there in the meadow, we'll at least be under the sun.

So, though we may have something to say in our old age, we'd better speak up while we are young and there is anyone yet who cares to listen. And though it's true our young words might be folly, it is good practice to voice opinion and hear response while others are still curious about what we might wish to say. And if we keep it up, we might then arrive still sooner at a place where our words resound with some real experience and meaning, and those who did previously listen might still linger to hear our more, and our better, and our words which drop like shaken acorns from a tree blown hard by the coming winter winds. Words which might be tangy or acid to taste - nothing like the sweet cherries of youth - yet which perhaps might nourish if gathered, stored, and prepared with care. These are the words of a well-lived life. A life which perhaps began speaking with the interesting promise and folly of youth, and finished with something more permanent and sound to last through the night.

This is the Season of Philosophy... A time of life to speak what we have beheld as true. Before we pass forever to the oblivion which is seemingly also something true.


My name is Kurt Bell.

You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.

Be safe... But not too safe.

27 views0 comments


bottom of page