Awake! For in the Lavatory Bowls of Night
Old Men have peed and stained the brilliant White:
And Lo! the Yellowness of Age has dimmed
The Star of Youth that once shone bold and bright!
Ah, me, once Damsels all they had bestowed
On those Young Men who batted, bowled and rowed -
Though they to all and sundry, on their Bikes,
Their rosy Knickers in the Daylight showed!
'Tis at this age that we remember How—-
But no more have we, Friends, the Strength; enow
To lay the Loved Ones in the silken Bed!
Though HE did us so mightily endow!
Strange, is is not? That Sailors, greatly thewed,
By us with Godlike Beauty were imbued:
And now from Sea return’d lie still in Earth,
That erst so dazzled us, when in the Nude!
The Wine, the Grape, the Visions that we saw—-
And shared, it seemeth, with great Evelyn Waugh!
Ah, these the Liver faintly doth forbid.
Once Nightingales, but now the black Rook’s Caw!
I dreamed that Dawn’s Left Hand was in my Fly
And lighted was the Candle, burning high!
But, waking, saw with disappointed Gaze
That Light a flicker, and about to die.
The Roses and the Gardens, let them go!
Our Youth, our Love, that we once fancied so,
Forget them, as the Nights of Too Much Wine
Blot out all Memory like falling Snow!
Only the young are allowed to suffer
openly. Adults go to a punishment room
with water but nothing to eat.
They lock the door and suffer the noises
alone. No one is exempt
and everyone’s pain has a different smell.
— Craig Raine [C: “does everyone’s rain smell different?”]