Robert Epstein is a poet and psychotherapist living in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has produced a series of poetry anthologies on topics such as grief, renewal and the afterlife. His anthology, All the Way Home: Aging in Haiku, was published by Middle Island Press in late 2019.
In fact, the anthology contains a mix of haiku, tanka and haiga. The book is a substantial volume, at 344 pages, offering poems from North American writers plus a good number of poets living in other English speaking countries.
As Robert argues in his introduction, it’s best to be realistic about aging. Aging is natural and inevitable. And, yes, it will involve some reduction in physical and mental capability. But these developments, combined with the experience of longevity, often provide a deeper understanding of life’s finite character. Many of the poems in the collection acknowledge aspects of decline:
that distant ridge
I’ll never climb . . .
each day the wind
takes a little more of me
late afternoon shadow
At the same time, many older people are in good health and still enjoying emotions and activities they experienced in earlier days:
long stem daisies
I return for a moment
to the summer of love
a week at the beach
she learns again
to be a child
Not everyone will want to read an extensive collection of poems on aging. But this anthology is likely to be helpful for people coming to grips with their own aging, anyone working with the aged and for people seeking to understand the thoughts going through the mind of an aging family member or loved one.
All the Way Home: Aging in Haiku is available from Amazon.