! Old Age Remembered
I never thought it would happen to me…
by Michael Shepherd
so, I wouldn’t have been reading this poem…
but now it seems it has. And now
I’m writing it. Or trying to. Big mistake?
So do I have
anything worth passing on?
You know, the Polonius Balonyus stuff:
If I were your age, boy,
this is what I’d be and do, yawn zzzz….
Let’s think instead, of some more lively head
in Sunday supplement style –
‘Old Age – Tragedy or Comedy? ’
It’s just so personal, and the only one
to really weigh it up is you. Or me.
I’m wiser, happier (on the happy days)
than ever in my life; but then, who cares?
Well, maybe one or two. On the other hand,
there are few illusions left;
would one have been glad
to have no illusions, at, say, twenty years of age?
Or, to be almost beyond pain, or pleasure,
or attachments of any sort -
this in some young man
taking his vows as monk,
would be a solemn commitment for a lifetime; but
when you’re old – easier or harder then to bear?
then, short-term memory shorter, long-term memory longer -
that's wonderful - provided you have no regrets...
the memories come flooding back
of just how happy, happy childhood is...
barely remembered now, how adolescence
is the most painful time of life...
To cut a long life-story short –
the comedy’s more comic; the tragedy’s more tragic.
So I wonder how Shakespeare, having studied both
and then thrown his books away,
living a comfortable (or was it?) Stratford retirement -
a spot of bowls, a friendly pub,
grandchildren, his or of his relatives,
to keep him young or tire him out or both -
I wonder what passed through his worldspanned mind
as he passed passing time? As his time passed?