This is no place for old farts. The rowdy lifts,
The noisy red canteens with food that should be free -
The wide-eyed girls with cool kinetic limbs
And youths with scraggy beards - none foresee
With innocent gazes still unmarked by time
How quickly failed ambitions come to be.
Caught in the amber of youth, all neglect
The minds where distant decades intersect.
A middle-aged man is usually a sad bastard -
Unless, of course, he can raise his social value
To overcome his overflow of years. That is hard,
Given widespread ageism. What best to do?
Be honest! After all, he holds the killer card
And knows what is and what cannot, be true.
He is not distracted by the curve of lissom arses
Nor fine hair binding skulls delicate as vases.
Oh schizoid intellectuals with sketchy sex lives,
Dwelling forever on your loveless death –
Or at best cursing disenchanted wives
In quiet rooms with baited, bitter breath –
Give me the abstractions, concepts and beliefs
To draw my thinking from its tarnished sheath.
So moist etceteras, young eyes and blue-veined skin
Do not distract me from the thoughts I wonder in.
Quite purged of carnal whims beyond my span,
I will not harbour lusts I cannot slake
But fight the noble fight, keep to the plan,
Avoiding supple flesh by shunning break
And reading every text-book that I can,
My cold ambition keeping me awake;
And emerge from all these trials with such a pass
I am beyond dispute the truly middle class.