"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

Long Distance Running


Tight hands grip the arms of the chair,

as I rise –

My weakness of limb I no longer disguise.

From doctor to patient,

requiring a nursemaid.

At times I look forward to boosting the hearse trade.

Spare me sweet patience,

Your kindness won’t do.

A life in the alms house is not what I choose.

While carers encourage my effort in movement,

The last thing I need is:

“Oh, what an improvement!”

Long term inflammation’s

my unwanted house-guest.

The blood tests are showing stale-mate but not conquest.

Now paid baby-sitters

must stay in my home lest

I fall in the night and am found with my pants messed.

Age and infirmity.

– I squirm and pride fades –

I tried to embrace these unlovely bridesmaids.

My heart is so weary,

my joints are so tired they’d

Welcome release, in the knowledge I’d paid

the debts which fell due in this life,

so confusing.

I will focus my thoughts as I ration my musing.

I have girded my loins and I’ll limit my snoozing.

To stumble, but finish,

cannot be called losing.




“…that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”


Ulysses, Alfred Lord Tennyson



5 responses

  1. Revelation 3:10-11

    Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11 Behold, I come quickly; hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm

  2. JGP

    I didn’t realise you were a poet! Very good. Sorry about the inspiration for it.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    • Thank you. I regard my work as being in direct descent from the Pam Ayres School of Letters.

      January 5, 2011 at 6:57 pm

      • JGP

        Then you are up there with The Greatest!

        January 6, 2011 at 3:08 am

  3. I turn 60 this year. I’m becoming more and more aware of physical changes, aggravated by the fact my brain still thinks I’m 19.

    If you can write a poem in the face of infirmity, about infirmity, well, I tell myself this is a man I would like to know.

    January 6, 2011 at 6:28 am

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