Rae Desmond Jones’ ‘Flailing to Byzantium’
Flailing to Byzantium
Rae Desmond Jones
Old age is so poetic
With increasingly desperate attempts
To assert significance
Despite substantial evidence to the contrary
Redress the gap with money?
But you have never been wise,
& your mathematics is appalling.
Politics has appeal -
Winston Churchill puffing out his cheeks
With that wonderful (but phoney) voice,
Besides you never liked cigars.
Passion retains its dubious ascension
Where you still show creditable enthusiasm,
However it does bring back memories
You regret & others with which (at your age too)
You feel ashamed.
Be wise & sit on a cushioned chair
On the verandah –
You can puff a pipe & cough
Now & then, when you lose a word
Or train of thought.
There is always that elephant in the room
Trumpeting sotto voce over the evening news.
When death arrives
You hope he might politely knock
& if his visit is short it will be over quick
& you will be gone