The coming of Age
Youth had gone out, and Time slipped by,
Midlife was busy wondering why,
and while I dozed, with rueful grin
and knowing wink, Age sidled in.
"Don't be alarmed," he sighed, beneath
his spicy breath and well-capped teeth,
"no thief am I, and you will see
fair exchange is no robbery",
and then, this claim to validate,
he took some hair, but left some weight;
my image in the mirror now
made harsh with lines and furrowed brow
but then to show the opposite
he blurred my eyes to soften it.
He took my firsts and left me lasts,
replaced my future with a past,
pesky ambition swapped for ease,
traded my dreams for memories;
children in place of father, mother,
one generation for another;
wisdom for strength, some pounds for pence,
shrewdness for youth’s brash innocence,
changed black and white for finer grey
and gave me grace for certainty.
It seemed that nothing would survive
his substitutionary drive
but finally Age raised his hat,
shrugged like an old French diplomat,
shook his sleek head resignedly
and took his leave reluctantly,
defeated by those precious things
that yet resist his barterings
and foil his sage legerdemain:
Faith, Hope and Love, these three remain.
Twenty-five years on, a sequel to Come on in the sofa's lovely.
© Godfrey Rust 2020, firstname.lastname@example.org. See here for permissions.