Three score years and ten
Here I am, yet again,
On the thirteenth day
Of the merry month of May.
What are my thoughts? How does it feel?
It is slightly strange; somehow unreal.
My sixtieth birthday was no big deal.
But to reach what, we were always told,
Was our “allotted span”; I must truly be old.
The sense of the unreal is amplified,
For we are living through strange times.
A “baby boomer”, my life has been charmed.
No mortal terrors, no physical harm.
No hunger, no hardship, no impact of war.
A life comparatively blessed, so far.
But now we are in “lockdown”; confined, ill at ease,
Our lives in peril from a deadly disease.
Seventy years, in a minor key.
At times slightly sad; at times quietly comic.
The mood subdued; the mode laconic.
Seventy years have come and gone.
Not a painting by Turner; more like a Gwen John.
Now, I am in a global pandemic.
I finally get a first brush with the epic.
I don’t normally feel inspired to write a poem when my birthday comes around every year. Ten years ago, when I had my sixtieth birthday, I remember various friends and relatives commenting on it being some sort of momentous occasion, but, to me, it was a bit of a non-event. I didn’t feel any different; didn’t feel as if I’d suddenly become an ageing, elderly person. I resolved to enter my sixties continuing to ignore the march of time, as I had done hitherto. Now, I have reached my seventieth birthday, and I still don’t feel any different – but the occasion does seem significant, purely because of the old idea of “three score years and ten” being a reasonable life-expectation.
Thinking along those lines, I began to get a few ideas for a poem, and the Covid-19 pandemic added an extra twist to it.