Friday, July 24, 2009

The All-Purpose 26-And-Over Birthday Poem

Another evening brings the dawn,
Another year has come and gone,
And once again, it must be said:
When Keats was your age, he was dead.

Another birthday cake appears –
The sugared tombstone of your years;
If you have tears, let them be shed:
When Keats was your age, he was dead.

When candle flickers that you see
Remind you of mortality,
Let this thought comfort you instead:
When Keats was your age, he was dead.

Youth is a punishable crime
For which we’re sentenced to serve time.
All clocks run down, all lights turn red:
When Keats was your age, he was dead.

What does the future hold in store?
A lot of loss, and not much more.
You can’t escape your destiny:
Like Keats, your fate is RIP.

Try not to dwell on what will come –
How tooth gives way to empty gum –
How Life’s a tease who takes, in scores,
From boys like Keats a life like yours.

They say that Beauty and not Youth
Is all ye need to know of Truth.
Keats said as much in words of thunder –
But hell, his ass is six feet under.

These days, his couplet gets a laugh –
We’ve grown more cynical by half,
And everything we used to prize,
Like Keats, is less than meets the eyes.

Beauty, like hair, is gone or gray;
Youth but a fire that’s blown away;
And Truth? It’s now Deception’s slave,
And speaks, like Keats does, from the grave,

Declaring life is here and now,
The prelude to an awkward bow –
A curtain call we all must make
Like Shelley, Byron, Keats and Blake.

So if, with all we do or know,
Our names are writ on H2O,
Then why not laugh and celebrate
Until (like Keats) we end up Late?

Let each year add rings to our trunks.
Let moderation be for monks.
Let’s go to bed at crack of dawn
And nevermore be fortune’s pawn

And fall in love with hearts of flame
And brand each morning with our name
And rise above our life’s defeats
And live past death, just like John Keats.

Copyright 2009 Matthew J Wells