Even when just the other day
From Then to Now feels decades away.
The name at the back of the mind…
What can I say?
That memory’s fickle, that fretting
Over a lost name or forgotten month
Makes you feel guilty, mindless, and blind,
That it’s perfectly natural to fear the labyrinth
Where the ‘ageing process’ might one day take you
Into the land of forgetting?
You said it, friends. Too true.
Dictionaries become indispensable?
There’s an urge to reread the Bible?
That song was in what key?
Over the hill,
Round the corners, round the bends,
And nuts to you, too, as I check my diary
For wherever it is I’m supposed to be,
Today, or the next, that old clock-sorcery
I don’t depend on, though I know I should,
And which you overdid, old friends.
No, I don’t think you did,
Not now I’m older. No one
Looks forward to being old and alone,
The carer with a spoon,
Boredom and fright on television.
How do you understand the merry young
As you endure a dragging afternoon
With a hundred names on the tip of your tongue,
Unable to cheer yourself up,
In a constant state of indecision?
Cheers! Let’s pour another cup.
About this poem
This poem was included in Best Scottish Poems 2017. Best Scottish Poems is an online publication, consisting of 20 poems chosen by a different editor each year, with comments by the editor and poets. It provides a personal overview of a year of Scottish poetry. The editor in 2017 was Roddy Woomble.