When I sit in my eyrie and note in my diary
“Eighty three years –and not quitting..”
I am not courting fame nor yet fulsome acclaim
(Though a grain of respect might be fitting)
But alas, now and then I encounter young men
Who, on staring askance at my eyrie,
Dismiss me as musty and fusty and dusty
And well past my date of expiry
Gadzooks! Let them scorn; need I mither or mourn
When they scoff that my hair is receding?
Such species of youth are untried and uncouth
And uncommonly lacking in breeding.
There are others who silently sit and suppose
That old age is a burden and bitter
When has-beens are doomed just to dawdle and doze
And ambition is fried to a fritter.
So will they come around to be sporty at forty
And then to find fifty inspiring?
Or will they find room for some middle-age gloom
And descend to despair on retiring?
I wish them good sense and a fine future tense
And an urge to live further and faster
Impelled by all sorts of invincible thoughts
And disdainful of doom and disaster.
No, wrinkled and rusty I never must be
I shall still find occasion to clamber
I am better to see than that juniper tree
And millennia younger than amber
I am younger today than tomorrow, I find
With verve and with vigour to spare
More anxious to lend than to borrow in kind
And far quicker to hedge than the hare
Yes, younger today than tomorrow, you bet,
Is the mantra I daily repeat
I may fumble or tumble and grumble and yet
I am still not afeared or effete.
Maturing, though wobbly, in wisdom and wit
I shall never sit here to be told
That, weakly and wizened, in dotage imprisoned
I’m obsolete, outcast and old.
I am plotting my plans, I am planning my plots
With no grouses to nourish or nurse
I shall welcome whatever my future allots
Never dreaming of life in reverse
So, older and bolder and mocking at harm,
Unawed by prosthetics or pallor
I’ll thrive – till Eternity taps on my arm
And bids me taste life in Valhalla.