The Next 50

for Barry and Tina.

Life experience is something I haven’t witnessed,
the fitness of waking up and going back to bed
50 years on the trot.

But I look to my father’s hands and see
all twelve-thousand morning mists
he has seen.

A gristmill heart, grained hands
and workshop walking feet are
all hidden from view.

He writes in capitals, written
with precision, and crosses the T’s
as he goes along,

So not to prolong the sentence writing chore,
making more time, conjuring up the minutes
to potter around and mend unbroken objects.
-
Life experience is something I haven’t witnessed,
the fitness of waking up and going back to bed
50 years on the trot.

But I look at my mother’s hands
and see remedies read about in those magazines,
all to look younger in the staff canteen.

A watermill heart, smooth iron fingers
and contoured, sculpted chiselled
corridor feet are all hidden from view.

She scrawls her sentences; they become the tide
hiding letters and numbers in the swell
of punctuation and dotted I’s,

The T’s cross themselves and she moves on,
another phone call to attend too or
a new BBC this-time-more-accurate historical drama  to view.
-
Life experience is something I haven’t witnessed,
the fitness of waking up and going back to bed
50 years on the trot.

But if you keep on going, stay out of strong sunlight
so not to rot, those years will pass
as a striking blur leading to coastal Big Sur
roads, where the next 50 miles
bring just as many smiles as the last 50.