On Growing Old

‘Father William’ . . . Pen & Wash: WHB

The magic has gone,
The shine has been dulled;
All’s not the same
Now life’s ardour has stilled.


Where once each day sparkled
With glamour and promise,
Now the vision is smeared,
A glazed image of bliss.


Yet there are so many gifts
Without which I’d perish.
Good friends and the memories
Of times which I’ve relished.


I’ll relinquish sad thoughts,
I’m still in fine fettle.
A rose is a rose
When it’s lost all its petals.

Noli Me Tangere (or Keep Your Distance)

Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

Hugging him, Embracing her,
Are very clearly now ruled OUT.
No Touching, feeling, gripping, grabbing,
That is a law we must not flout.

A kiss, a cuddle? … Better not,
Intimacy is not allowed;
Feel, pinch, rub are all verboten,
All off-limits – Shout it loud!

So please don’t touch me, don’t come near,
Stay apart, just keep your distance;
Take a powder, keep away,
You cannot come to my assistance.

No high Fives, no shaking hands,
No contact sports, no postman’s knock.
Life is grinding to a halt,
They’ve got us in a strict headlock.

So, if you feel like being contiguous
Remember the two metre rule,
Intimacy’s not now permitted,
It’s just like being back at school.

Courting couples, you have been warned,
Stap your vitals, Cool your ardour,
Or sure as rotten eggs is eggs
You’ll find yourself with a court order.

P ‘raps tactile anaesthesia’s needed
To stem our need to interact,
For touchy-feelies are no more,
Now that is just a matter of fact.

NOTE:  Noli me tangere (‘touch me not’) is the Latin version of a phrase spoken, according to John 20:17, by Jesus to Mary Magdalene when she recognized him after his resurrection. The biblical scene gave birth to a long series of depictions in Christian art from Late Antiquity to the present. Pre-Raphaelite painters of the mid and late 19th Century were particularly fond of this as a subject for their paintings.

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Love and Wisdom

Robert Herrick

Bust portrait of Robert Herrick, 17th century English poet,  from a rare print by W Marshal

 

One of the great love poems in the English language is Robert Herrick’s (1591 – 1674) poem ‘To Sylvia , to Wed’.   The poem was published in 1674 in a collection of Herrick’s poems called ‘Hesperides’.  You will find a transcription of it at:  poets.org   The last line of this extremely short poem is . . .

“No Man can at one time be wise and love.” 

The truth of these words by Herrick have often struck me, and I have been led to compose the following poem to amplify my thoughts on the beauty of the words and the wisdom which they hold . . .

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Love and Wisdom

Great truth lies here
For love consumes the soul
Drives out the rational
In favour of those headstrong thoughts
Those unconsidered deeds
Which couple love with lust
And joy with pain
Breaching reason
As a burst dam
Floods life’s valleys
As the wildfire strips life’s undergrowth
Devouring what it most values
In the thoughtless rush and swell
Of its inflamed ardour

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