Being old isn’t what it used to be. Sixty is the new forty. The world is full of expressions designed to make us feel better about the inevitable passing of the years.
This fascinating mini-anthology of poems selected by John McCullough – which includes the three winners of our ‘getting older’ poetry competition – opens with an enlivening meditation on the meanings of the word ‘spry’. The speaker delights in hopping up and down some hotel stairs when no one is looking and in the fact of being “inescapably me”. It matters not one jot that he is:
“like a dancer running out of melody,
a boulevardier running out of boulevard,
a prizewinner running out of shelf;”
from ‘Hop’ by Alasdair Paterson
The poems look in both directions; backwards to heydays of young love and time deliciously misspent, and forwards to the perils and thrills of middle age and beyond.