Pill Time

August 12, 2019

For men, old
is that point at which
life becomes much harder
than one’s cock.

The Lone Ranger


July 29, 2019

When I was a kid,
there was always someone old
living with my friends,
a small, gray person
from another century
who stayed in a back room
with a Bible and a bed with silver rails.

They were from a time before the time
the world just plain went haywire,

and even though nothing
made sense to them anymore,
they’d gotten used to it,
and walked around smiling vaguely
at the aliens ruining the galaxy
on the colour console television,

or the British invasion
growing from the sides of our heads
in little transistorized boxes.

In the front room, by the light of tv,
we were just starting to get stoned,
and the girls were helping us
help them out of their jeans,

while in the back room
someone very tired
closed her eyes and watched
a wheat field where a boy
whose name she can’t remember
is walking down a dusty road.

No sound
but the sound of crickets.
No satellites,
Or even headlights in the distance yet.

George Bilgere


July 6, 2019

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Jenny Joseph

These days I can’t get over being old. It’s new to me, that my life like a book has to end. And because I’ve always lived in books, lines and phrases others have written stay close to me. Shakespeare’s ‘Love is not love/ Which alters when it alteration finds’ spoke as I tried to grasp how fragile a very old marriage is.

Myra Shapiro
Afterword to The Alteration of Love

To Venus

June 4, 2017

(after Ben Jonson)

Come on. Give over. Spare me this.
I’m out of shape for love’s nice skirmishes,
as surely you can see. The years
have added gravitas, too many layers
of it, unfitting me (old fool)
to be a pupil in your singing school.

My voice is dull and out of tune;
I cannot serenade the moon in June,
so find yourself a younger man.
I am too much the grizzled veteran
to haunt her balcony. I keep
my customary hours. I need my sleep –

but there she follows me, despite
my pious protestations, through the night:
proposing, amid pipes and flutes,
a host of most unmatronly pursuits.
We find an arbour; she begins;
she runs her pretty fingers through my chins…

David Callin

Oh, dear me –

November 21, 2015


Showing off…

August 12, 2015