I've can't remember which year I launched Bard at Bay but, according to the stats, I've posted just short of 1,000 poems or short stories since then.
My approach to writing has changed over the years as has my published output and doubtless that evolution will continue so long as I continue to write.
Over the past three years I've moved towards lighthearted verse and currently I publish a daily poem, often humorous, sometimes topical, on my Facebook page. You'll find the link below.
I've decided to 'retire' Bard at Bay so this is my last post.
Land of Youth is a rhyming poem that first appeared on Facebook and seems to me to be a fitting choice to accompany the Bard's final bow.
My thanks to all those of you who sought out this blog and supported it over the years.
LAND OF YOUTH
Rex was a jaded retiree
whose joie de vivre was history.
A faded fellow, seen by some
as dull and permanently glum.
He saw a ladder on a wall
that wasn’t really there at all.
The wall itself was real enough,
full twelve feet tall, its finish rough.
The ladder, Rex could clearly see,
was unreal, purely fantasy,
and yet he scaled it, rung by rung,
with zest he had not felt since young.
Up, up he climbed, small, bony-kneed,
and felt his adulthood recede
with every step. A child again,
he climbed out of the world of men
into a realm where pains and aches
gave way to comic-books and cakes,
to conkers, roller-skates, balloons,
his old banjo, its tuneless tunes,
the games of tag, that Rex called tig,
that very first clandestine cig,
the kites that sailed, the dens that fell,
the battle-games, charge and repel,
the sticklebacks caught from the stream,
the ginger beer and Walls ice cream.
Rex, to his joy, saw Spike, his cat,
dead fifty years, grown sleek and fat,
and Jack, his terrier, alive,
who had been dead for fifty-five,
his cockatiel, long gone, named Blue,
live and unharmed, Rex saw her too.
Around him, like chess-pieces, ranged
his childhood friends, each hardly changed,
his mother, young and free from care,
his father with a head of hair,
a cricket bat, a brand new ball,
those battered stumps, Rex could recall
from countless summers long ago
with Father shouting “Bowl don’t throw!”
Rex slowly realised the truth:
this was, of course, the Land of Youth,
the Tír na hÓige, he’d learned about.
Again, he heard his father shout
“Who wants to climb this apple tree?”
Rejuvenated, Rex cried, “Me!”