All My Loves Have Grown Old


When wrinkles appear on immortal faces, I realize
I too am older, and we are all poets of memory now

there being more time behind us than ahead,
and the future is not so frightening as we give

ourselves over to time or to an end—and worry not
and take comfort in memories, and lessons we have

finally learned, or futility we have finally accepted,
or wisdom we carry like scars on a slave’s back.

All the poets of my youth have grown old. When wrinkles
appear on their faces, voices soften. Their hush is sweet;

their syllables salt; their breath, my breath, and I sit at their
feet waiting still like one in meditation before the lotus.


Ellen June Wright was born in England of West Indian parents and immigrated to the United States as a child. She taught high-school language arts in New Jersey for three decades before retiring. She has consulted on guides for three PBS poetry series. She was a finalist in the Gulf Stream 2020 summer poetry contest. Her work was selected as The Missouri Review’s Poem of the Week in June 2021, and she received five 2021 Pushcart Prize nominations.