You Can Tell A Crone By Her Cackle

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A compendium of poems celebrating the wisdom and experience inherent in living a full lifetime of laughter and learning with a lick of license (poetic and otherwise).  I hereby reclaim this word and declare it to mean: a free woman, unencumbered by the opinions of other and the stricture of tradition or worn out customs.  One  who can be counted on to have devised, through trial and error, a strong internal ethic. One who can be trusted to say what she means and mean what she says.

You Can Tell a Crone by Her Cackle

You can tell a crone by her cackle –

ranging registers of absurdity

wheezing through ancient lungs

past withered lips.

Arms crossed, knees splayed

she rock, rock, rocks

to the rhythm of glee.


You can tell a crone by her crackle –

knees, neck, elbows popping cartilage

beneath thin soft skin.  Don’t

let wrinkles fool you.  Bent

but unbroken, she

knows elemental secrets:


Earth, Air, Water, Fire


This old one, this elder, this woman of wisdom

practical, Quixotic, paradoxical, quickened

runs, soars, swims, burns

with them all.


They fill her with story.


She is the wellspring

the fountainhead.


When you hear her cackle, turn her way

ears pricked, tail awag; poised

on the verge of tears, on the lip

of laughter, eager to attend,

ready to receive.

©2014 Christine Irving

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