Poetry Sunday: Birthday by Robert William Service

When it comes to poetry, I'm a dipper. I don't tend to read entire books of poetry, but I dip into them from time to time, usually in search of an appropriate poem for this weekly feature. While "dipping" last week, I happened upon this little gem written by Robert Service in commemoration of his seventy-fifth birthday. It made me smile and I thought it might do the same for you.

Just for the record, I'm with Robert; I think eighty would be just about the appropriate time to recant my sins. Until then, let's whoop it up!


by Robert William Service

(16th January 1949)

 I thank whatever gods may be
 For all the happiness that's mine; 
That I am festive, fit and free 
To savour women, wit and wine; 
That I may game of golf enjoy, 
And have a formidable drive: 
In short, that I'm a gay old boy 
Though I be Seventy-and-five.

My daughter thinks
because I'm old
 (I'm not a crock, when all is said), 
I mustn't let my feet get cold, 
And should wear woollen socks in bed; 
A worsted night-cap too, forsooth! 
To humour her I won't contrive: 
A man is in his second youth 
When he is Seventy-and-five.

At four-score years old age begins, 
And not till then, I warn my wife; 
At eighty I'll recant my sins, 
And live a staid and sober life.
But meantime let me whoop it up, 
And tell the world that I'm alive: 
Fill to the brim the bubbly cup - 
Here's health to Seventy-and-five!


  1. LOLLLL... i don't think i can wait another year, i better start living it up now!

  2. Gee, I will be seventy-nine next month. Does that leave me only one year to whoop it up? Frankly, I think I will try to push it a little. I can think of a few things I haven't tried yet!

    1. Well, the poem was written in 1949. Let's say 90 (100?) is the new 80.

  3. Ha, ha! That's a good one. Though my idea of whooping it up may not be a game of golf... (more likely to be at the Malamute saloon!)

    1. Service would, of course, be right at home at the Malamute as well!

  4. My life these past two years has been too sedate - I will make 82 the target age. (I will turn 70 later this year).

  5. Love it! We should all age that well. ;D

  6. It's a perfect poem, I think. Yes, we should be whooping it up!

    I tend to prefer collections of the-best-of poems to individual volumes of one poet.

    1. He addresses a sentiment common to people of my age - we see time passing swiftly and realize we need to make the most of it.


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