It’s sixty-four years since the misfortune of my birth,
Eight times eight, since I shrieked entering the earth,
Shrieking premonition of awful things to come
Of horror and dread to punctuate dreary humdrum;
But alack, there was certainly no going back.
I was doomed to trudge the ageing track,
Suffering outrageous fortune and many a smack.
Goading and cajoling were guised with hope,
Or cant tears orchestrated with onion or soap;
Promises of love mixed with threats of failure
Were the prizes of ineluctable, gossamer allure
Rendering me steadfast along the course,
Fearful of a final dish of abject remorse,
Striving for reward in loving intercourse.
Not so long ago, I thought I’d lose my hair,
But though it’s grizzled most is still there.
It’s the apostate lovers who have gone.
I have hair but their vows are jettison.
No more smarmy exchanges of valentine;
On my birthday I’ll pour my own wine.
I’ve no need to worry at quarter to three
If any would let me under marital canopy
Because they’ve gone, leaving me at liberty.
None them knitted me sweaters by the fireside,
Or had me chop wood when the flames died;
Autonomous, I mend fuses and change a globe,
Or stroll about, wrinkled, without wearing a robe.
Summertime, I can rent a cheap, shabby cottage,
Or a swell hotel without fearing virago’s outrage.
There are no children on me arthritic knee
Because the likes you had to be set free,
To voice your shrill views on male depravity.
You never did fill in the form for answering
Despite all those words amorously reassuring.
None of you dug choking weeds in love’s garden
But all were ever ready to resent and harden.
Only humbug will bring you to mourn at my grave,
An occasion for you to exploit, to accuse and rave.
But your grievous bile must wait yet a while
For I’ve outgrown your wily, meretricious bile,
To survive without sipping a false love phial.