Note from Madazine’s outer office staff: When the cat’s away, the mice can play. Our editor wrote this poem, which we can confirm relates his recent experiences. He didn’t have publication in mind and will be cross when he gets back to work and finds that we’ve slipped it in. Well, we don’t care. He can’t sack all of us.
Getting On A Bit
Review your life said Socrates – no doubt he had a point.
One dwells on this when old and grey with creaks in every joint.
The great man didn’t quite mean that – he dwelt on higher planes,
And grappled with philosophy far more than aches and pains.
But he’s been gone two thousand years so will not mind a bit,
If I tamper with his discourses and try to make them fit.
Adapt them to the physical, those matters of the flesh,
That press upon us ever more when we’re not young and fresh.
The old boy downed a hemlock drink – some say he didn’t care.
Most likely he was wondering what more he’d have to bear.
He’d just about got to the end of three-score years and ten.
So probably he deemed it wise to end things there and then.
So passed from the Hellenic world a thinker of renown,
A fellow upon whom today the scholars seldom frown.
But enough of ancient Athens, let us now get up to date.
I have a little tale to tell – bet you can hardly wait.
My first six decades went quite well, the seventh wasn’t bad,
But number eight has been so hard, it’s made me rather sad.
It started promptly on the day, the big seven-o came round.
While walking through a local park, I tumbled to the ground.
At first it didn’t seem severe, I strode along all right.
My trouble started later, in the middle of the night.
Rib-cage, back and abdomen hurt like they were on fire.
Hips and shoulders joined in too, the situation dire.
It took three weeks to simmer down, four more to disappear.
A very inauspicious start to such a landmark year.
Two further months without a hitch and life seemed fairly kind,
Until I was oppressed again, this time it was the mind.
My landlady assailed me with some nasty allegations,
Backed up by a battery of vicious imprecations.
She’d always been so reticent, I never thought she’d try
To scold me, then I realised that her mind had gone awry.
Her son turned up that evening, confirming what I thought.
He apologised profusely, poor fellow was distraught.
I calmed him down but told him that our ways would have to part.
Though hardly a spring chicken, I was game for one more start.
Why stop at domicile I thought, I’ll try something more grand.
So as well as changing residence, I also swapped the land.
Left the Emerald Isle behind and made for Albion’s shores,
Excitement making me forget that when it rains it pours.
I got a house and settled down, but not for very long.
A few months in my new abode then something else went wrong.
The waterworks failed suddenly, a bolt out of the blue.
What hitherto was crystal clear took on a different hue.
My visits to the smallest room caused maximum dismay.
I’d started passing pure vin rouge instead of Chardonnay.
I scuttled off to see the doc, whose face betrayed some worry.
He wanted me in hospital, and said we’d better hurry.
The surgeon spoke harsh words to me of baccy, booze and diet.
I had an argument in mind, then thought I’d best keep quiet.
He seemed a formidable lad, not wise to make him cross.
I was prostrate, he had a knife, so that made him the boss.
He did his work then called on me and seemed in better humour.
I’d soon be on my feet, he said, he’d shaved away a tumour.
So back to domesticity – all quiet for a spell,
Until another happening, that rendered me unwell.
While out on foot one winter night, I sought a litter bin,
But came upon a flower tub, located with my shin.
A strip of me three inches long and nearly half as wide
Had vanished, and though in some pain I sought it far and wide.
I had no luck, so limped off home and got another shock.
The missing rasher wasn’t lost but rolled up in my sock.
I tried to fix it back in place, with plaster and saliva,
Plus some herbal ointment that had set me back a fiver.
I got it right and turned my mind to sprucing up the dwelling
And overdid the labouring, but quite how there’s no telling.
This time a whopping lump emerged above the right-side groin.
It felt much like a cricket ball embedded in the loin.
So off to the GP again – by then it was a habit.
‘Spread out upon the couch,’ he said, ‘we’ll just let dog see rabbit.’
He diagnosed a hernia, no cause for great alarm.
The surgery was simple and I needn’t have a qualm.
The sawbones was a gloomy chap but knew well what to do.
Got through four jobs like mine that day, with me last in the queue.
I’m back and in the saddle now, at work with pen and ink,
With senses honed by recent woes, or so I like to think
Carved up twice in fourteen months, I’m wondering what’s next.
Another in the lower regions, that would get me vexed.
But providence is on my side, I feel it in my bones.
It won’t be liver, pancreas, or even kidney stones.
I’m going for lobotomy, if fate will let me choose.
The old grey matter’s addled, so I haven’t much to lose.
When this thought occurred I guessed my brain would just go reeling,
Then I got the point that where’s there’s no sense there’s no feeling.
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