When you’re over sixty,

Life can deal a rotten hand.

Liver spots and pitted skin.

No chance of getting tanned

For fear of melanoma.

Cancer on the inside

As well as on the out

Is a fearful thing to think of,

A disease you cannot doubt.

Aches and pains beset you,

Your hair turns patchy grey,

You feel you’ve turned invisible

Even on a sunny day.

Backpacking in the Andes,

Canoeing down the Nile

Are not the hols you look for now,

They really aren’t your style!

And yet a voice within me

Cries “I’m not really old!”

I want to go whitewater rafting,

Or climb up glaciers cold.

I’d love to learn to parachute

(though I have a fear of heights).

But “I’m afraid you are too old, dear.

Why don’t you see the sights

From a coach with every comfort,

And a handy loo on board.

It suits our older ladies

who have problems “down below”.

I think you’d find it better, dear,

more suited to your age.

Life is for the young ones

With strong and healthy bones,

And all their life ahead of them,

No ties, no fear, no moans!”

Oh well, I’ll get my knitting

And settle in my chair,

And look through all the brochures

And search and find somewhere

I can be myself, and never care

What other people think.

I’ll bulge from my bikini,

And settle with a drink

Down by the turquoise water

Of an island lush and warm.

And a great big hat to shade my eyes,

And a notice by my chair –

“This is an eccentric English lady,

And she DOESN’T CARE A DAMN!!”

© Gillian Peall

 

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