BWAG Poems


A BWAG Birthday Poem for All Ages
by Mary Geis


BWAG birthdays come and go,
As they do with other folks we know;
          But BWAG birthdays mean new trails,
          New mental maps, new adventure tales,
         And, yes, new web photos and new e-mails.
Birthday markers along the BWAG way,
Say the summit’s one year closer on your day.

If you’re thirty, there’s a BWAG lifetime ahead,
And you’ll never get lost in the BWAG tread.
           For old BWAGs those years are a glowing ember;
           A time we don’t even try to remember;
           Why dream of May when we’re living November?
Yes, the thirties are hectic, beautiful, fine,
And some choose to stop counting at thirty-nine. 

They think that at age forty, their life is half over,
But, no! You’re just beginning to roll in the clover.
          At forty you’re cooking with get up and go;
          You’re stronger and smarter than most of us know;
          And you’re younger and better the older you grow.
You live ten days in seven; you’re giving your best,
But you need BWAGs on Tuesdays for rehab and rest.   

Fit and feisty at fifty?  It’s no big deal!
That’s how a half century is supposed to feel.
          Your hormones are fading; you have a pain in the knee;
          You hold the phone book at arm’s length in order to see;
          You’re sure to be courted by AARP;
          But the children are grown now, your fancy is free.
Fifties take stock, start making great plans,
Ignoring “You can’t”s, embracing “I can”s.

Swift and sexy at sixty?  We hope that’s the case;
There’s a long way to go ‘til the end of the race;
          Sure, problems are bound to pop up here and there;
          Unwanted growth to remove; a joint to repair;
          You deal with old skin, bad teeth, and gray hair.
But sixties can choose, to hike, travel, or ski;
To contribute, to study, to really look, really see.         /p>

                        OLD BWAG BIRTHDAYS

  So you’re seventy now, and ahead of the game;
 Beta BWAGs nod in respect, when they mention your name.
              You know that younger BWAGs, would not choose to be your age;
               Perhaps you would, if you could, turn back to a younger page;
               But face it girl, you’re an elder, a “Burlap BWAG” sage!
  The seventies may slow you down, but look up the trail you climb,
  And hope God, luck, and motivation, will slow down Mother Time.

   Reaching eighty is a bit more weighty, risks come with added years;
   The term “OLD old” adds a chill to the thrill, of parties with your peers.
               You’re told to keep the old joints moving, the old mind active yet;
               To look for new adventures, to give more than you get;
               But each new year’s a gamble, and each birthday you win the bet!
   And do old BWAGs fade away, as it’s said old soldiers do?
   Not? Try shifting to a lower gear, and greet each birthday year anew.

   Past eighty-five and still alive! We’re the OLD older generation;
   We face the numbered years ahead with: possible attitudes listed below. Keep
            in mind that you can choose, and that choices can be positive (or negative).
                     1. Faith (doubt) and happy (worried) expectation.
                     2. Thanks (regrets) and cheerful (gloomy) resignation.
                     3. Hope (fear) and calm (grim) determination.
            Healthy and active for our age, is often what we’re told,
            If true, we think that we can thank, the BWAG way of growing old;
            And younger BWAGs aging up, will further stretch that BWAG mold.
    And yes, old BWAGs fade away, as all old folks seem to do;
    We die too young, or we die too old; not a happy thought, but true.


    I thought I’d best not wait ‘til 90, to pen another BWAG birthday verse;
    The old mind may get more scrambled; the old body’s ills get worse.
               In the mind’s eye of memory, I navigate old BWAG trails;
               I enjoy the seasons in the mountains, even as the body fails;
               I laugh with old time BWAGs, and tell old BWAG tales.
     I know my limits here on earth, but in my mind, they are the sky,
     And when opportunity allows, I’ll give it the old BWAG try!


       If I’m all here at ninety, and still think I’m cool and wise;   
       I’ll fill you in on old age, through a BWAG ninety’s eyes. 

Hiking with Mary in the Bridgers
by Karin Utzinger

Up, up, away the ladies went
Following their leader's dogged intent.
To reach the top they were bent
As if they had been Heaven sent!

The day dawned sunny and so bright!
Anne's camera captured summer's light
And hikers taking in the sight,
Till they stopped to take a bite!

Have you 'ere seen flowers half so fair
Waving in the mountain air!
And the views we saw from way up there
Were just magnificent---everywhere!

And so we traveled up Mine Shaft
Though flat landers might have thought us daft!
We cooled ourselves in ridge's draft
Chatted, ate and roundly laughed

While butterflies around us swirled.
Why, we were in another world
Of beauty constantly unfurled!
This magic mountain, flower world!

So down we came as storm clouds blew
And o'er the sky were being spewed;
But we had left that site renewed
With friendship's bonds tightly glued!

There is nothing more to say
About that wondrous hiking day
So I will now be on my way
Till next time we can come to play!


Time in Rhyme
by Mary Geis on the Occasion of her 83rd Birthday
January 31, 2008

Do you recall when time passed slow, through the Great Timekeeper’s gate?
      When the next Christmas and next birthday, seemed an impossibly long wait?
When we were very young, our account of Time seemed never ending;
      Now our Time account is running out, but we have to keep on spending.

When I was five years old I dreamed, that six and school would come someday;
     I boasted I was five and one half, but six still seemed far away.
Now another year has passed me by, without much done that I can see;
     I barely knew being eighty-two, and now I’m eighty-three.

So does Time drag, or does it Fly? Therein lies a conundrum,
      For it depends upon the stage you’re in, and whether life’s a race or humdrum.
Perhaps it slows when we’ve lots to do, but many years ahead to fill;
      And Time flies by when we’re slow to do, and there’s not much left to spill.

The known years are your cake of life; each birthday adds another slice;
      Cut that cake into eight good years; each piece is full and mostly nice.
Serve that cake in forty busy parts, and each year has none to waste;
      Divide that cake into eighty years, and one hardly is a taste.

Young folks have a nimble mind and energy to get things done;
     They work hard, raise families, volunteer, and still have Time for fun.
But the old mind tends to wander; focus fades; attention strays;
     What we used to do in minutes, now may take us hours or days.

Doctor Einstein told us long ago, that Time is not what it seems;
     That Time’s passing is illusion, a figment of human dreams:
So I don’t know just where I am, lost in the warp of space and Time;
     But since I’m here I’ll think, dream, and cheer, and compose a silly rhyme.


Sappy Limericks for a Happy 82nd Birthday
by Mary Geis

I like to think I’m a gal for all ages,
Who adjusts to life’s various stages;
         But eighty-two isn’t new,
         And there’s not a lot I can do
To assuage old age’s outrages.


Take BWAG friends on wild ski celebration;
Make them think extreme skier vacation;
(or Make them wish they were in some other nation;)
         Climb up icy scree,
         Chase runaway ski;
Schuss sugar snow hills in boisterous elation!


Enjoy after–ski party delightful;
With sweet treats and conversation insightful;
         With so many “best” friends,
         The good life never ends;
And old age doesn’t have to be frightful.



Happy 60th, Tove!
by Mary Geis

Tove lived in Ohio,
Lots of other places too;
Tom and Tove came to Bozeman
To try Montana, fresh and new.

They loved Montana's mountains
It's wildlife and its thrills;
They built a warm, creative home
In the nearby Bozeman hills.

Tove didn't have enough to do
with church and quilts and home
So she looked for good companions
with whom to laugh and roam.

She found Bushwhacker BWAGs—
Just what she was looking for
Not only did they hike and whack
but lunched and laughed and more.

BWAGs like Tove's sprightly ways
Her red hair and Norski name;
They missed her when she didn't come
And were happy when she came.

And now our Tove's turning 60,
Middle aged in BWAG years
We think she's aging very well,
Worthy of her BWAG peers.

There's reason still to look ahead
Like medicare at sixty-five
And burlap shorts at seventy
Really make you feel alive.

So we'll celebrate with Tove
Do zum galli's in the grass
Eat cake and blow out candles
On a flowery mountain pass.



Ode to a BWAG Legend
A Birthday Poem for Mary Geis
by Cathy Weeden

Mary Geis is an Alpha BWAG great;
For a hike in the woods she'd not hesitate.
She has skills in the outdoors beyond compare,
And she'd teach them to us, if only we'd care!

In fact, I believe that she worries some
About the leaders who are yet to come.
Despite all the talk of Alphas-In-Training,
Is there one who can lead to Ross Pass without straining?

Who will know about mending a broken tent peg?
Or patching tears with a cut-off blue jean leg?
Or fixing most anything good-as-new,
Using duct tape and a spot of glue?

Mary knows these things and many more,
Like a fox in her henhouse and animal spoor.
She can find her way into and out of a morass
Without GPS—only a map and a compass!

She knows flowers and birds, tracks and trees;
She can tell what to do for very sore knees;
She knows how to fix a frozen ski binding;
These knacks we admire, in fact we are finding

That it's hard to live up to someone so great.
Our skills with cell phones and computers don't rate.
But, Mary, don't worry, we'll keep right on trying,
'Cause we have you to look up to! You're truly inspiring!



Gilly's Christmas Treat
by Katie Cady
December 2002

T'was the night after BWAGs
   and out in the kitchen,
All the sweets on the counter
   set our dog's nose a-twitchin'.

Fred and I were away
   attending some function.
So Gilly, with never
   a hint of compunction,

Reached up on the counter
   to pick out a treat,
Took it out through the dog door
   and proceeded to eat.

The next morning I realized,
   Something was gone!
Why's aluminum foil
   out on the lawn?

Where is the fruit cake
   made by Anne Banks?
What a nice Christmas present.
   Gilly says, "THANKS"!!!



A Birthday Verse for Cathy
by Mary Geis

   The BWAGs love Cathy, because they know Cathy cares.
      When a new or old BWAG falters, she's always there,
   With a hand and good humour, a snack or first aid.
      It's from stuff such as she has that alpha BWAGs are made.

   So she's not a thirty-year BWAG; on skis she's quite timid;
      But she's an adventurous learner, and her strength knows no limit.
   She knows her flowers and tracks, reads maps and finds trails;
      And she does all the social things good Bwaggin' entails.

   Plus, she brought us old BWAGs to the digital age,
      With computer savvy, e-mail, and a BWAG web page.
   She's extended her talents beyond her good BWAG team,
      To improve the environment and the political scene.

   Twenty short years ago she jumped the thirty-nine wall,
      But she's still as frisky as forty, not faded at all!
   Twenty years in the future? Maybe fading, still fine,
      And no one will care that she's seventy-nine.


Judy's Birthday Poem
by Mary Geis

     What BWAG has a birthday
          on a late October date?
     Who's an aged forty-something now
          but still can laugh and celebrate?

     Who keeps the BWAG archives
          the printed-on-paper kind?
     Who has a brand new puppy
          and is teaching him to mind?

     Who climbs all BWAG mountains
          though not always in first place?
     Telemarks down snowy meadows
          with amazing speed and grace?

     Who has worked with Girl Scouts
          and Awana girls and boys?
     Is quiet and contemplative
          not known for making noise?

     Who listens to and thinks of others
          never toots her own great horn?
     Is happy and optimistic
          never sullen or forlorn?

     Who appreciates all things in nature
          and works to keep it green?
     Who tries to pass along to others
          all the joy in things she's seen?

     There are lots and lots of BWAGs
          we have come to know and love
     But today "almost an alpha" Judy
          is the one we're thinking of.


Happy Birthday to Anne Watson
by Mary Geis

Anne Watson's a BWAG on the grown-up side of forty,
She's gracious and witty, kind, sweet, smart and sporty.
Like her age group she's cooking; she gets up and goes;
She's stronger and smarter than anyone knows;

And of course, younger and better, the older she grows.
She lives ten days in seven, she's giving her best,
And she needs BWAGs on Tuesdays for rehab and rest.
Yes, BWAGs will help her meet Wednesdays refreshed.


Happy Birthday to Anne W
by Cathy

A thong? Let's look at the facts!
    Our Anne is too classy an act
Maybe wax for her hands
     Or a pony-tailed man
But a thong? No No!! Class it lacks!



Happy Birthday to Cathy
by Anne W.

Cathy came to us from Geneva, so far
Her skills in cameras and computers brought the BWAGs up to par
But more than that, we love her smile and sunny disposition,
No matter the weather or current dental condition.
So whether her age ends in an 8 or a 7,
To BWAGs, she's our hiking angel – sent directly from Heaven!



Happy Birthday to Anne B.
An impromptu limerick by Anne W.

Today is the day we celebrate
     The birth of a BWAG who is really great.
She knows her flowers and trees,
     She flies when she skis,
Happy Birthday Anne Banks, our BWAG laureate!



A Happy BWAG 60th To Our
Neat, Bright, Fine, Strong, Rare, NINA

by Mary G.


60 years can't defeat, our Nina so neat.
     Our Nina so neat, with the delicate feet;
The best shoes are no treat, for delicate feet,
     But a disposition so sweet, will never retreat.
Age can never deplete, our Nina so neat.

60 years just delight, our Nina so bright.
     Our Nina so bright, whose feet are just right,
Even when tight, for a girl of her height.
     In daylight or at night, in repose or in flight
An adorable sight, is our Nina so bright.

60 years can't define, our Nina so fine,
     Our Nina so fine, with the delicate spine.
Her spine can recline on rock or on pine.
     BWAGs won't malign, her feet or her spine.
'Cause there's no better design than our Nina so fine.

60 years isn't long for our Nina so strong.
     Our Nina so strong, whose life is her song.
Yoga or Falun Gong in Nepal or Hong Kong,
     She'll always belong and stride right along
Years will never be wrong for our Nina so strong.

60 years can't impair, our Nina so rare.
     Our Nina so rare with the artistic flair,
With impeccable wear and adorable hair.
     We BWAGs declare, we're lucky to share
With others who care, our Nina so rare.



A BWAG Toast to May
by Mary G.


When our Margaret turned sixty-eight,
     We gathered here to celebrate,
We extolled her Martha Stewart feats,
     Ate birthday cake and other treats.
We clapped and laughed at poem and song,
     We pranced, we danced, we sang along.
Alphas and Betas had their say;
     'Twas a to-remember BWAG day.

But now another year has passed,
     Just twelve months later than the last;
Three hundred days plus sixty-five,
     And we're all still here, we're still alive!
So let us mark another BWAG year;
     Not one special day to cheer or fear.
Here, in the vale of Rescue Creek,
     Let's toast the wild BWAG mytique.

First toast all BWAGs born in May,
     There are no better ones than they.
We'll raise our paper cups on high,
     And toast the flowers, trees and sky.
We feel the springtime breezes blow,
     And toast the now gone winter's snow.
We feel the warming springtime sun,
     And toast the coming summer's fun.

We hear the sounds of birds and friends,
     And toast the joy that never ends.
Toast pink and blue and green and gold;
     We toast our way of growing old.
Margaret has another year to wait
     'Til she's an IRON BWAG great,
But why wait to toast at seventy
     When sixty-nine is just as heavenly.



For Patsy
by Anne W.

There is a fine BWAG named Patsy,
Who is "mad fly" on a telemark ski.
She swooshes by, her braid flying,
With everyone sighing:
"I wish I could bend like that with my knee!"



  For Margaret
  by Anne W.

There is a fine BWAG named Margaret,
Who is always so busy, she'll never sit.
She plays tunes in the sages;
She'll rock through the ages.
And she always has bright gaiters that fit!



An Advisory Verse for Couch Potatoes
In honor of Mary A.'s birthday by Mary G.

Hup! two! three! three! four!
Whatever are you waiting for?
    You'll think, it's true, that I'm a grouch,
    But I'm telling you, get off that couch!
    Get up and move; don't be a dud!
You can prove that you're no sofa spud.

Walk up the stairs to upper floors
Leave those chairs; walk out those doors.
    Go walk the dog or take a hike
    Chop up a log; or ride a bike.
    You could rake or hoe, mowing lawn is free
Or shovel snow; cross-country ski.

Work out in the gym; work out in a pool
To dive and swim is really cool.
    Play ball on a court; play ball on the lawn.
    Play any sport that turns you on.
    If you're about to explode, don't take a pill
Run down the road; jog up a hill.

Real exercise, we'll have you know
Makes the spirits rise; makes the psyche glow.
    Not turning the wheel of a powerful car
    Not the athlete's feel from watching a star.
    Not computer runs or a virtual ski
Not bouncing your buns on an ATV.

If you have to ask, I'll tell you why
How early do you want to die?
    Want arteries that turn to stone?
    Blood pressure in the danger zone?
    Muscles weak? Joints that creak?
Surely, that's not what you seek!

What good are leisure time and wealth
If you don't have your life and health?
    So, eat your vegetables and fruits
    Skip junk food snacks; put on your boots!
    If you want to thrive in the years ahead
Get up and jive; you'll be glad you did!



The Wrinkled (a.k.a Experienced) Hand
by Mary G.

The wrinkled hand that rests beside me on the chair
Cannot be mine — it's too experienced, too old;
But still, this hand is with me everywhere
And I know quite well the years its wrinkles hold.

The wrinkled neck and face, with eyes that look back from the mirror glass
Keep reminding me my time is getting late;
That yes, the hours, the days, the years do pass
And looms ahead the human fate we do not like to contemplate.

But the wrinkled hand swings gamely with me on life's trail;
One life's album of its pleasures and its pains;
The wrinkles and taut tendons tell an aging tale
As do the fragile, bruising skin and bulging veins.

Skin blotched and damaged by the ultraviolet sun
Recalls salt water sails and alpine hikes;
The ring finger tells of married love and family fun
Scars remember careless knives and crashing bikes.

The working hand is known by callused palms and tattered nail
House and laundry, yard and garden, are not a smooth hand's friend;
But this friend hand is mine, and hopefully will never fail
To do my bidding, lead me on, and follow to the end.



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