©westcoastwoman 2016

Just this tonight, while I wait for the stars ………

a poem by Joyce Rupp

Old Maps No Longer Work  

I keep pulling it out –
the old map of my inner path
I squint closely at it,
trying to see some hidden road
that maybe I’ve missed,
but there’s nothing there now
except some well travelled paths.
they have seen my footsteps often,
held my laughter, caught my tears.

I keep going over the old map
but now the roads lead nowhere,
a meaningless wilderness
where life is dull and futile.

“toss away the old map,” she says
“you must be kidding!” I reply.
she looks at me with Sarah eyes
and repeats “toss it away.
It’s of no use where you’re going.”

“I have to have a map!” I cry,
“even if it takes me nowhere.
I can’t be without direction,”
“but you are without direction,”
she says, “so why not let go, be free?”

so there I am – tossing away the old map,
sadly fearfully, putting it behind me.
“whatever will I do?” wails my security
“trust me” says my midlife soul.

no map, no specific directions,
no “this way ahead” or “take a left”.
how will l know where to go?
how will I find my way? no map!
but then my midlife soul whispers
“there was a time before maps
when pilgrims travelled by the stars.”

It is time for the pilgrim in me
to travel in the dark,
to learn to read the stars
that shine in my soul.
I will walk deeper

into the dark of my night.
I will wait for the stars.
trust their guidance.
and let their light be enough for me.

by Joyce Rupp


16 thoughts on “OLD MAPS NO LONGER WORK

  1. Simply beautiful! It is so hard to see the path ahead when we keep shining the light behind us. Your piece finds a place in my heart!


  2. Oh, this is so true! I LOVE the reference to your ‘midlife soul”. What a perfect way to describe how we feel at a certain stage in life. I’m still tightly clinging on to my midlife soul. Hanging on for dear life, refusing to cross over to old age. However, my oldest son told me recently that he’s reached middle age (he’s in his 40’s) and therefore I couldn’t possibly be in midlife. That was a rude awakening! It was then that I realized I was stretching midlife out for as long as possible! And if I lose my way it doesn’t matter because women over 50 or 60 can do whatever the hell they want to! So embrace your midlife soul and enjoy the journey, (wherever it takes you)! ❤️✌️🎸


    1. I too struggled when I read this poem….I am also clinging tightly to whatever the definition is of ‘midlife soul’ I have two daughters in their 40’s and when I read the poem I thought is that ‘midlife’? I am also stretching or redefining midlife even as I embrace becoming an Elder in a society that also needs to redefine that.
      I too danced in go go boots and am planning a journey to Turkey next year to dance with Banafsheh, I also believe we can do “whatever the hell we want” and am starting to do it.
      So good to find a like-minded soul.


    1. It is not my poem so it is hard to answer for the poet…I have always imagined it to be her daughter or a close friend that knows the writer very well, well enough to feel free to assure her that despite her fears of having no direction that she already is “without direction” “so why not let go, be free?”
      When she looks at her with “sarah eyes” Sarah is probably about to tell her something that the writer already knows to be true but is not willing to accept. At least that is my interpretation….


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