My friend Mr Tang (in the centre, second row)
Sent me this pleasant photograph, not too long ago.
His Class of 1950 is shown as they are now,
And I feel the Chinese system should really take a bow!
Everyone depicted here must be getting old,
And yet their physical condition is a wonder to behold!
All must be at least seventy, yet all are so erect!
Not one walking-stick or crooked knee or stoop can I detect!
There may be one or two grey-haired (I can see some at the back)
But most of them have hair that's thick and uniformly black!
I've looked for some obesity, but all of them are trim!
Maybe a Chinese diet keeps everybody slim!
When they were young their lives were hard, at least that's what we're told,
Yet now they've come into their own and look great when they're old!
Maybe Tai Chi's the answer. Maybe the answer's rice.
Maybe we've all been over-indulged and now must pay the price.
The Chinese system seems to work; maybe we should comply.
So that we can look like this as future years go by!
FIVE YEARS ON!
(A Prompt to which I responded.)
In five years time I'll be eighty-five! I write it, feeling aghast!
How did the days of my lengthy life go flashing by so fast?
The thought should make me feel morbid, should make me weep and cringe,
Should make me dread the era of memory-loss and twinge.
The tragedy of age, it seems, it that ones stupid brain
Imagines one is still sixteen! One wants to start again!
Yet the tragedy is the boon, I think, for the plain and simple truth
Is that, inside, we all enjoy a never-ending youth!
At fifty I felt done-for! Ready to pop my clogs!
Ready to say that, already, I was going to the dogs!
That was nearly thirty years ago! Thirty fantastic years!
I've felt I was going backwards, away from the 'vale of tears'.
I've shed my responsibilities! My hobbies fill my life!
It's the middle years that test us.....parent, worker, wife.
'So twenty-fourteen! Welcome!' (Let's hope that's what I say!)
Although, of course, at eighty, I might drop dead today!