Him That Grow’d Up, Grow’d Old-er

60th sell-by date

Satchel Paige said, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” I think that’s probably a trick question. It’s a little like that saying about a tree falling in the forest. If there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? Yeah, like that. If there’s no one there to hear me moaning and creaking as I get out of bed fresh from turning sixty, have I really turned sixty? Have I already passed my best “sell by” date?

Here’s a little pome (this stuff hardly qualifies as a poem) in honor of my six decades — tongue-in-cheek, naturally, and dentures on a shelf.

Hint: the pome reads more easily if you use a sing-song rhythm — out loud — and forget pentameter. A Texas accent also helps. If you’re still confused by the pome, please refer to the previous fifty-five posts for background.

In looking back on years gone by
Despite the contrary things he’d know’d
Time marched on without his help
But them that watched saw how he grow’d

And things had happened on the way
But they were things he had not see’d
Though clear to others and plainly so
His anger became, you know, his creed

So long ago the lights went out
Ne’er again, he thought, would be his need
For things outside himself, you see
And with himself he much agreed

His counsel only he would keep
All others he ignored
When others thought to think him good
He thought them off their gourd

When at some point as years piled high
He found himself not quite so drunk’ed
A little light peeked through, it’s true
But life it mostly stunk’ed

His problem still, I’m here to tell you
All selfish and self-centered
No matter how he’d tried to change it
His life it still was splintered

To his surprise, things were a’changin’
These filled him full of dread
For over all those years of hiding
He’d expected, surely, to be dead

If there’s a moral to this story
We’d expect for it to lead
To something dark, foreboding
Surely not a life that’s freed

The boy that died so long ago
Or ‘least to him that’s how it seemed
Was found to still be breathing
Or was it only what he’d dreamed

He’d worried on and on and on
If him they really know’d
Would walk away and leave him there
Alone along the road

It took some time, sixty years, you know
From what he knew he’d sowed
His life was full of something, sure
That some would call a load

But things can change
Or so he’d been toad
They change no matter what you do
No matter you’ve said “vetoed!”

Things they’re changing still
And though some fear’s subsided
He’s trying to do better, true
But himself he’s still derided

Slowly, yes, ever so slowly
He found he remembered still
That one from long ago, so long
The one he’d tried to kill

So now they’re friends these two
Even have between’em a code
And with the help of each of them
On them some honors were bestowed

And you may think the two are one
With you they’ve disagreed
But gradual-like and none too fast
The merger will proceed

Good and bad they’re just one coin
On that he now agreed
You say he should have known ‘fore now
And ask if he’d accede?

The two were always one
If on that fact he’d been confused
But one forgot the other
The other not amused

Now they’ve met again
The two as one decreed
We’re in this thing together
They mutually agreed

But wait, you ask, again and louder
What’s next, how’ll it all conclude?
You look to him and wonder
Not to answer would surely be rude

Undeterred, it’s said, he turned his face
Into a wind that blow’d
And smiled, but only to himself
And ambled down the road.