As I Grow Old

Father William

AS  I  GROW  OLD

As I grow old
So I become bold

No more restrictions 
Disallowed contradictions

Youth brought its gaucheness 
Implacable faultless

Taking for granted 
Entitlement implanted

But age, ah the pleasure, 
Getting the measure 

Of life in its dotage
Foregoing all rampage 

Now felt understanding
All pressure withstanding

Now my time has turned
Rights I have earned

Taken life’s bites
Its end in my sights

I’ve come to a time
When the next world is mine

Forgetting, forgiving,
Poetically living

No longer the dread
Of just wishing I’d said

For in verse yet unsung
I know what I’ve done

Brought to fruition
A lifetime’s ambition

And for ever for me
Life’s summation, its key. 

 

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‘On Ageing Gloriously’ – REPRISE

[ Wednesday Replay # 4 ]
 
To counterbalance my poem ‘On Ageing Disgracefully’, re-published last Wednesday, I now re-present my upbeat version of old age, previously posted by me on  
OldAge&Youth

‘Old Age & Youth’ …  Pen and ink – WHB.  2017

ON AGEING GLORIOUSLY

Yes, I am getting older now; my prime has slipped away;
But I’m beating off the Harpies who want to bring doomsday.
But the benefits now brought about through all the new advances
Have brought about a change in me, at least they’ve upped my chances.

For, mine eyes have seen the glory never found since I was nine;
I ‘ve cast aside my spectacles reversing my decline.
I’ve got new eyes now, darling, and the cataracts have gone,
So despite my aged torso I will still keep staggering on.

And my new knees tell the story of my better prospects now;
I’m going to try the Great North Run if only they allow,
‘Cos I feel as though I’m twenty four and kicking down the door.
At least I’ll get a few years now before I need some more.

My metal hip has been replaced; I now have one in plastic;
It’s been a great success, although the experience was quite drastic.
I can hobble with the best of them and the stairs I cope with ease;
Yes, walking is a doddle now and life is just a breeze.

My hearing aid’s a bonus, I know what’s being said on telly.
My confidence I have regained, I’d rival Machiavelli;
The end still justifies the means; these life aids serve their purpose,
But instead of “Turn the volume up”, I’m wishing they were wordless.

My carpal tunnel surgery stopped my fingers feeling numb.
I’m twice the man I used to be, an artist I’ve become;
So now you see me in my prime reflecting on new marvels;
My hands are fully functional now; I have not lost my marbles.

My lumbar corset gives me an efficient spinal brace.
My posture’s as it should be now, no longer a disgrace.
I stand upright and hold my place wherever I may be,
Just the occasional little blip, one you’ll hardly ever see.

The wig I found provided me with a new lease of life;
No longer bald and reticent – I’ve got a new-found wife.
I’m wond’ring how surprised she’ll be when we get into bed,
Perhaps she’ll want a payback when she finds she’s been misled?

They gave me my libido back with just a small blue pill;
Revived my passion and my lust – be that for good or ill.
I must say I’m enjoying those long lost thrills again,
No longer from the Tantric Arts, do I have to abstain.

They now give me a freebie both for Christmas and tv
Free bus and tube rides I can get, I’ve become a devotee
Of touring round my city all the splendid sites to see
Suits me to be busy now at the age of eighty three.

A pension I am grateful for, although it’s not enough,
I paid my dues for forty years, I did think that was tough;
Yes, the National Health helps me a lot, I get my medicine free,
And if I want a pick-me-up, my nurse is good to me.

My mouth has been replenished with a set of new white teeth;
I thought it best to have that done before they bought my wreath.
I look forward to my time in Heaven, but perhaps it’s just as well,
That I can still enjoy life now – in case I go to Hell.

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Faustian Offers Refuted

Holbein-Mort2

From ‘Le Triomphe de la Mort’ by Iean Holbein

FAUSTIAN OFFERS REFUTED

 

He has brought me here 
Recycled my life 
To revive my youth
Its promise given to me again 
To tempt my taste for change

Had it been different 
choices changed 
Those faustian offers not refuted 
Where would wishes 
Then rejected 
Have taken me

But I know 
I am no more fitted now
Than I was then  
To take the right course 
Choose the salient path

So once again I must reject the offer 
Renew my current course 
Leave longing for reason 
For that unknown and unknowing 
Certitude

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‘Return Me To My Youth

Followers of Roland’s Ragbag will know that, on occasion, I enjoy attempting a, for me, unaccustomed poetic form.  I was again encouraged to do so earlier today by a post on Linda Luna’s blog: ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ .   Please do take a look at her description of the Decastitch and, in particular at her outline of a particular variation of this many-faceted form named the ‘Ravenfly’.  Her blog contains a clear outline of the form, which I quote as follows:

  In summary, the Ravenfly is:

• A decastich (10-line poem) written in 3 stanzas: 2 quatrains and 1 couplet.
• Syllabic count: 8-7-8-7, 8-7-8-7, 10-10
• Rhyme scheme: abab cdcd ee
• Meter is optional

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Prisma-whb01

RETURN ME TO MY YOUTH

Return me to when I was young 

And life had not yet happened; 

The loves I’ve had, the songs I’ve sung,  

 But now I’m truly saddened, 

For life has bitten me so hard, 

Removing joy and pleasure, 

Leaving my swollen heart so scarred

The pain I cannot measure.

My memories of youth are dear,

The future – still obscure, unclear. 

Prisma-whb04

 

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A full account of the Decastich and its many different guises can be read on the Poet’s Garret website   (q.v.).

I have posted my above attempt at ‘The Raven’ to the ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ Challenge.

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Inspiration

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Waters of the River Lowman, Devon – Photo:  WHB, 2017   ©

 

INSPIRATION

 

As Lowman meanders
hardly awake
over its pebbled bed
and as clear waters
give back the russet tones
of disturbed sand
of silt-stained rocks
so I muse

Imagination awakes
words flow
with the waters of the stream
transmuting my senses

into visions
of solitude
and silence
of grace in being
delight in life itself

These images
transposed
revisiting me now

with imprinted memories
of awe
of richness

felt in the bones of my youth
replicated now
in the dis-ease of old age

 

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Sharing the Glow

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Sunset over Loch Earn, Scotland – Photograph  © . . .  WHB 

 

Sharing the Glow

 

I remember that evening –
The sun sinking low,
When you stood beside me
Sharing the glow.

We bathed in that splendour –
That golden sunset,
Drenched in that promise
I’ll never forget.

I held your hand tightly,
Placed a kiss on your lips
In youth, in the gloaming,
The lie was eclipsed.

For then we were young,
Life had not bitten hard.
Our futures seemed certain
But we let down our guard.

I left with a pledge,
But never returned;
Dissolved into dreams
Your derision I earned.

But now we are older,
Life has taken its toll.
Is it too much to ask,
Can I recapture your soul?

Now that same sun is sinking
Setting fire to the sea;
Can this Phoenix bring hope
To you and to me?

Let me hold your hand now,
Place a kiss on your lips,
For bliss in old age
Does all else eclipse.

 

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On Ageing Gloriously

OldAge&Youth

‘Old Age & Youth’ …  Pen and ink – WHB.  2017

ON AGEING GLORIOUSLY

Yes, I am getting older now; my prime has slipped away;
But I’m beating off the Harpies who want to bring doomsday.
But the benefits now brought about through all the new advances
Have brought about a change in me, at least they’ve upped my chances.

For, mine eyes have seen the glory never found since I was nine;
I ‘ve cast aside my spectacles reversing my decline.
I’ve got new eyes now, darling, and the cataracts have gone,
So despite my aged torso I will still keep staggering on.

And my new knees tell the story of my better prospects now;
I’m going to try the Great North Run if only they allow,
‘Cos I feel as though I’m twenty four and kicking down the door.
At least I’ll get a few years now before I need some more.

My metal hip has been replaced; I now have one in plastic;
It’s been a great success, although the experience was quite drastic.
I can hobble with the best of them and the stairs I cope with ease;
Yes, walking is a doddle now and life is just a breeze.

My hearing aid’s a bonus, I know what’s being said on telly.
My confidence I have regained, I’d rival Machiavelli;
The end still justifies the means; these life aids serve their purpose,
But instead of “Turn the volume up”, I’m wishing they were wordless.

My carpal tunnel surgery stopped my fingers feeling numb.
I’m twice the man I used to be, an artist I’ve become;
So now you see me in my prime reflecting on new marvels;
My hands are fully functional now; I have not lost my marbles.

My lumber corset gives me an efficient spinal brace.
My posture’s as it should be now, no longer a disgrace.
I stand upright and hold my place wherever I may be,
Just the occasional little blip, one you’ll hardly ever see.

The wig I found provided me with a new lease of life;
No longer bald and reticent – I’ve got a new-found wife.
I’m wond’ring how surprised she’ll be when we get into bed,
Perhaps she’ll want a payback when she finds she’s been misled?

They gave me my libido back with just a small blue pill;
Revived my passion and my lust – be that for good or ill.
I must say I’m enjoying those long lost thrills again,
No longer from the Tantric Arts, do I have to abstain.

They now give me a freebie both for Christmas and tv
Free bus and tube rides I can get, I’ve become a devotee
Of touring round my city all the splendid sites to see
Suits me to be busy now at the age of eighty three.

A pension I am grateful for, although it’s not enough,
I paid my dues for forty years, I did think that was tough;
Yes, the National Health helps me a lot, I get my medicine free,
And if I want a pick-me-up, my nurse is good to me.

My mouth has been replenished with a set of new white teeth;
I thought it best to have that done before they bought my wreath.
I look forward to my time in Heaven, but perhaps it’s just as well,
That I can still enjoy life now – in case I go to Hell.

 

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Pushing Up The Daisies

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‘Pushing Up The Daisies’ … WHB – Pen & Wash. May 2017

PUSHING UP THE DAISIES

Where are they now
Gerard and the Craig twins
Doggy Dan  and Luggy Cooper
the Lawrences
Jocky Boyes and Spuggie Hood,
each with a memory attached
their image for me
still young
never ageing?

Could be still out there
my age
and I’m still here,
not waiting
but wanting
wishing
hoping
reliving memories
replaying youth,
recalling lads
lasses too
part of my past
history of my story,
liked,
loved,
and lusted after,
feared
and fretted over,
not given a thought
until now
but they could still be here,
there,
somewhere,
not pushing up the daisies.
Not yet.

Will some of them,
wherever,
still be sleeping
with my dreams?
Others,
as I,
lying sleepless,
thinking these same thoughts,
because
we do have the same history,
minds similarly imprinted,
memories matched
attuned
remembering.

Racing out in the morning
breathless with anticipation
rushing to share our days,
to build the same dams
catch the same minnows
in the same jam jars
leap the same becks
explore the same tunnels
climb the same trees
rocks
hills
fight the same mock battles.
All
forging our own
memories.

And Jim
Jim, the joker,
jumped off Highcliff Nab
while I took his photo,
fell
all of six feet
soft landed
on the turf ledge.
No dying fall,
not kicking up the daisies.

AlasHeHadaDyingFall-JimThrower-Highcliff Nab

Not then,
no, he wasn’t then,
he is now.
Long lost
professor of religions
respected author
from beck side cottage,
but now
no thanks to weed and wine
buried deep
in my Memory Lane.
Now pushing up the daisies.

But those of us who remain
short time to run
just enough to practise
treading the ceremonial turf
from below
to push up the daisies.

While now,
above ground
we tread warily
lest their spades
are not ready
when our own time comes
to push up the daisies.

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Then Will I Sing

BurneJones-StCecilia-Chicago

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1833-1898) … St.Cecilia – Stained Glass – 2nd Presbyterian Church, Chicago

 

When time at last has caught its fearful breath
And I have cause to think again of you,
I will return to our far distant past
And then relive those old desires anew.

For when in trepidation I now pray
For health and strength in my remaining years,
Memories flood back of youthful days
When you and I brushed eyes and shed some tears.

Now, when hearts may meet and lips may touch,
And old less supple bodies bond in bliss,
Now, when you give to me your self in love,
Then will I sing and long remember this.

That youth and age together make a life,
Related sides of but a single page.
This truth becomes at last to us apparent,
Allows our hearts in love to re-engage.

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CHOICES

I wrote these rather pompous verses when I thought I was old;
Old enough to give advice to those younger than me.
I am now twice as old as when I first wrote this;
I am neither wiser nor more capable of giving advice now than I was then;
Believe me or not – it’s YOUR CHOICE!

choices2-feb2017

Pen & Wash … WHB – 2017

CHOICES, or ‘Advice To The Young’

 

Every second in a life can be a turning point;
Chosen or unconscious it is there,
Make a choice – it’s up to you,
 Why not try out something new?
But never ever say that you don’t care.

You cannot stop your life from moving forward;
Time rolls on despite your efforts to stand still.
You can’t take a backward view,
Nor can you jump the queue.
You have to stay in line and climb life’s hill.

But life’s direction you can set about to change;
Tweek it here, a twist just there, you can try out.
The choice that you then make,
With a little give and take,
May well be something you can’t do without.

For when all is said and done, young man, you’re learning
To find a path in life that holds for you.
Just hold to your endeavour,
Never ever say “for ever”,
And keep your choices open to what’s new.

 

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