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!

Birthday

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!

Comments

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

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  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!

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

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  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!)

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

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  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).

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    Replies
    1. Gives you plenty of time to get your whoops in!

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

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  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.

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    Replies
    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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