61 going on 19

Photo by Ben on Unsplash – Comet Neowise, taken in the UK, 07.19.2020


61 going on 19

We raced out the door at 9:45
my hair still wet
from the bath.
Near Lake Elmo we craned
to see a comet
too faint for city lights.
Near Afton we stopped again
by a farm field
still frustrated by urban glow.
On to Willow River we drove
away from the city
chasing darkness.
There on the pavement
of a small parking lot
we joined a dad
and three daughters
strangers beneath a sky
blanketed by stars.
Through his telescope we saw the comet—
then, knowing just where to look
and with our own eyes
turned slightly askew
we caught the blur
of this distant visitor.
Just so!
Rapt in awe
by the stretch
of the Milky way overhead
We three adults remarked
how such breathtaking beauty
can renew human hearts.
After the family left
I stood behind you
my arms wrapped around you
and your hands on mine
and stars above
and earth below
and my heart was full
tingling with wonder
at you … and me—
61 going on 19
still feeling such a rush
of joy at your side.
And though unseen
there were shooting stars above
because my wish
came true.
All over again.

David R. Weiss – July 23, 2020


Full disclosure: tiny bit of poetic license here. I’m not yet 61, but 60 going on 09 doesn’t “flip” with such romantic flair … and Margaret is 61, so I borrowed her age for the title. Also, we didn’t have sufficient darkness to see the comet quite as clear as this photo from a few days ago in the UK shows. But we could just barely catch the blur of the tail at the edge of our eyes.

*     *     *

David Weiss is a theologian, writer, poet and hymnist, doing “public theology” around climate crisis, sexuality, justice, diversity, and peace. Reach him at drw59mn@gmail.com. Read more at www.davidrweiss.com where he blogs under the theme, “Full Frontal Faith: Erring on the Edge of Honest.” Support him in writing Community Supported Theology at www.patreon.com/fullfrontalfaith.

5 thoughts on “61 going on 19

    • Ah! And it makes me smile to know you still keep an eye on me from afar. In the most concrete way, you helped make nights like this possible. (Endless thanks.)

    • Thank you, Diane! Behind the scenes story. I was working on other things until 2:45 a.m. and crawled wearily into bed. (That’s a fairly typical bedtime for me.) Curled up next to Margaret, found the joy welling up inside me. Thought to myself, “Uh oh, there’s a poem in that joy.” Got up and wrote until 4 a.m., then searched for the right comet photo, then posted it, and crawled back in bed, now truly weary, at 4:45 a.m. Ha! Joke’s on me.

  1. That is a long night! But at least it was productive. I was up most of last night but it wasn’t productive. I did get to sit in my back yard though without my neighbor’s dogs barking, so that was nice!

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