I understand how old men become soaks.
You read how others sail around the globe
or bicycle to India and back –
two cheers for them, or those who write a book,
or visit prisons, or who learn to cook . . .
It doesn’t take a major, lengthy probe:
if you’ve made work your be-all, then its lack
can send you down the pub, to join the blokes
who prop up bars, and set the world to rights,
each boring each with obsolete sound-bites.
You don’t go all at once right off the track.
At first, who knows, some might enjoy your jokes.
But soon you’d test the patience of a Job.
Still, one more round, and then home to the wife
(if she’s still there). And the rest of your life.
Published in Snakeskin 256, December 2018