The Old Man’s Anchor

You hope to inhabit Byzantium.
It trumps the stone cottage, the green mossed walls,
Earl grey tea, cold biscuits, the morning news:
Your Scrabble friend just died shovelling snow.
You don’t know who to say goodbye to next.
Family is coupled with Christmas, they’ve
sat you down, had the talk, signed the papers.
“Who gets the cadillac? Who gets it, Dad?”
The soul would sing and clap and dance but the
Hands ache, holding onto the wooden cane
That supports the man ready to be earthed.

But I contest what the old poets taught.
This is a country for old men! They, the
Whiskey drinkers, hardened thinkers, who still
Share the load with Atlas, breaking their backs,
Shredding shoulder muscles, still weak and sore
From when they carried their kin to funfairs.
Pour gasoline onto the dying light!
You’ve got miles to go before you sleep!
There’s weight on those two trunkless legs of stone.
It’s a Darwinian body above,
Hardwired, ripe with age and character
And it breathes and it speaks and it’s writing.

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