A time to look backwards and forwards.
I’m sixty-five not out, as cheery cricketers might say,
And looking back makes twenty-one seem centuries away.
I’ve cousins, aunt and offspring, but no sister and no brother.
I’ve done a bit of this and that, a little of the other . . .
I once came third in the long jump†, but sport is not my thing;
And, nursery rhymes apart, there’s little doubt that I can’t sing;
I’m no good on committees which I’ve joined to make their quota;
In politics I am the archetypal floating voter.
When young, I made collections: fag cards, stamps, and matchbox tops,
And old piano music found in second hand bookshops.
I’ve modelled things with matchsticks, Trix‡ and Bayco‡, balsa wood;
‘Micromodels‡’ were a challenge, but I did the best I could.
Good people educated me from infant to degree –
I only wish I’d thanked them all, but now it cannot be.
By rote, encouragement and fear they inculcated knowledge
That got me through exams and then eventually through college.
I’ve done research on knee-joints and lost-wax investment casting,
And some of what I’ve done has had effects that have been lasting:
For artificial limbs and anti-locking brakes for cars
I’ve tested out and patented some intricate doodahs.
I’ve been a Civil Servant (of the scientific sort),
But didn’t always do the things that Civil Servants ought.
I’ve played duets on organs, juggled darts, and (what is worse)
I’ve had the sheer audacity to venture into verse.
So at sixty-five not out, as cheery cricketers might say,
I’m looking to the future in an optimistic way;
But one thing leaves my family apprehensive and perplexed –
They’re wondering what on earth this ancient geezer might do next . . .
† There were only three competitors.
‡ Trix was a Meccano-like nuts-and-bolts construction set; Bayko let you build model houses with plastic bricks that slotted between metal rods stuck into a baseboard; Micromodels were sets of postcard-size cards from which could allegedly be made miniscule models of things like the old London Bridge.