Saturday, 9 April 2016

Fading into the Limelight

My father recently spent some time in hospital with a broken shoulder, and is now convalescing. I had such a bad cough this year that I coughed up blood.  All signs of age, and the inexorable passage of time. 

I was also listening to a "British Invaders" podcast on Wallace and Grommit, and hearing of the praise lavished - rightly - on Peter Sallis for his part in bringing Wallace to life, made me think of him in "Last of the Summer Wine", also about old age and retirement, and his autobiography, and how my old Armada paperback is falling apart. That all fed into this poem.

Fading into the Limelight

I remember the title of a personal account
By Peter Sallis, who did in his life amount
Perhaps little as the great actors go
But still I always enjoyed him so
His own story, "Fading into the limelight"
Told as with age, he began to lose sight
I remember “The Last of the Summer Wine”
A glory of old age, of how the endings fine
That we all have, but hang on there to last
Even when the flag is lowering to half mast
Feeling creaky, eyesight going, hearing loss
The rolling stone now stopped, gathers moss
I see my father, remember him in his prime
But that was many years ago, and now time
Steals away the years, leaving frailty and faith
Strength and fitness becoming like a wraith
A ghost of what was, and I see that in myself
Becoming like a musty old book on the shelf
Once a bright Armada paperback, a story told
An exciting adventure with Daleks bold
But now this body of mine is wearing thin
I can no longer run the good race and win
The pages loose, the glue is drying out
The bathroom tiling has been losing grout
But do I rage against the dying of the light?
Not as long as I can scribble on and write
For therein lies my joy, words are magic
Not supernatural, not illusion or trick
But a portal into other times and places
At the endings, these are still life’s graces
And none of us knows the hour or time
The bell tolling, the alarm clock, the chime
At midnight, for the hour is already late
And Ariadne still weaves a web of fate

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