wordsout by godfrey rust
Welcome To The Real World  < 11 of 59 >

Come on in, the sofa's lovely

When the belt around your belly
     sidles out another notch,
and the footballers on telly are
     the sons of those you watched,
when your clothes are back in fashion and
     you never even knew,
and the high point of your Saturday’s 
     a trip to B&Q, 

when the grown-ups at your parties 
     are outnumbered by their kids
and you notice that prime ministers 
     look younger than they did,
when you catch yourself complaining that
     a programme goes too far
and insist a Ford Mondeo’s really 
     quite a stylish car, 

when a hit song sounds like someone with
     a terminal disease
and you find that you’re agreeing with
     Conservative MPs,
when a singer makes a comeback and
     you didn’t know he’d gone
and your daughter’s latest boyfriend’s 
     never heard of Elton John, 

when your favourite tv series 
     only shows on UK Gold
and those other people at your school 
     reunion look so old,
when you’re free to stay up partying 
     all night, but somehow don’t
and your children are all big enough 
     to wear your clothes, but won’t, 

when there’s no-one to complain about 
     the company you keep
and the most seductive reason for
     an early night is sleep,
when you’d write your masterpiece if you’d 
     the leisure to begin it
and you’d have a mid-life crisis if 
     you only had a minute 

and you wonder what became of all 
     that time that lay ahead
and all the things you could have done (and all 
     the things you did instead),
then the hour has come at last to face 
     the unforgiving truth
that your membership’s expired of that 
     exclusive club of youth. 

Don't shake your balding head or stamp 
     your Hush Puppies in rage—
look on it as maturing past that 
     awkward, childish stage—
in the stuffing of life’s turkey, just 
     accept that you’re the sage—
face the camera, smile and say that you’re 
middle age.

Tempus fugit, of course, and Ford Mondeos and UK Gold are themselves now historical curiosities.

Godfrey Rust 1995, godfrey@wordsout.co.uk. See here for permissions.