I was 73 yesterday, no great age nowadays in the Western Empire, at least unti the arrival of COVID-19. Would-be friends ask of me, ‘why don’t you settle for a quiet life?’ Marilyn found this lovely poem, to which I’ll keep returning as the years roll by. The poet is Brian Bilston, who can be found at https://brianbilston.com/about-brian-bilston/
Brian Bilston is a laureate for our fractured times, a wordsmith who cares deeply about the impact his language makes as it dances before our eyes.’ Ian McMillan
AS I GROW OLD I WILL MARCH NOT SHUFFLE
As I grow old I will not shuffle
to the beat of self-interest
and make that slow retreat to the right.
I will be a septuagenarian insurrectionist
marching with the kids. I shall sing
‘La Marseillaise’, whilst brandishing
homemade placards that proclaim
‘DOWN WITH THIS SORT OF THING’.
I will be an octogenarian obstructionist,
and build unscalable barricades
from bottles of flat lemonade,
tartan blankets and chicken wire.
I will hurl prejudice upon the brazier’s fire.
I will be a nonagenarian nonconformist,
armed with a ballpoint pen
and a hand that shakes with rage not age
at politicians’ latest crimes,
in strongly worded letters to The Times.
I will be a centenarian centurion
and allow injustice no admittance.
I will stage longstanding sit-ins.
My mobility scooter and I
will move for no-one.
And when I die
I will be the scattered ashes
that attach themselves to the lashes
and blind the eyes
of racists and fascists.