Poetry: Early to Bed | clivejames.com
[Invisible line of text as temporary way to expand content column justified text width to hit margins on most viewports, simply for improved display stability in the interval between column creation and loading]

Early to Bed

Old age is not my problem. Bad health, yes.
If I were well again, I’d walk for miles,
My name a synonym for tirelessness.
On Friday nights I’d go out on the tiles:

I’d go to tango joints and stand up straight
While women leaned against me trustingly,
I’d push them backward at a stately rate
With steps of eloquence and intricacy.

Alone in the café, my favourite place,
I’d sit up late to carve a verse like this.
I couldn’t do it at my usual pace
But weight of manner would add emphasis.

The grand old man. Do I dare play that part?
Perhaps I am too frail. I don’t know how
To say exactly what is in my heart,
Except I feel that I am nowhere now.

But I have tempted providence too long:
It gives me life enough, and little pain.
I should be grateful for this simple song,
No matter how it goes against the grain

To spend the best part of a winter’s day
Filing away at some reluctant rhyme
And go to bed with so much still to say
On how I came to have so little time.