To Helen

OK, right now you’re the focus of all eyes.

I admit it.

The men from 21 to 80 all stare

at you, the unattainable.

Ronsard’s lady and Yeats’s love have nothing on you,

and you know it.


Your eyes are light itself and your hair 

falls about your shoulders carelessly.

Your arms are curves of beauty

and…I could go on. 

Oh yes, I could go on.


Time builds your beauty day by day,

but time is a two-faced beast, you know,

and day by day he will undo

what day by day he slowly grew.


One night, uninvited, age arrives

with his sagging sack

of wrinkles, worries, sleep and snores,

slung across his stooping back.

Like a squatter he takes hold.

He lives inside your lovely home,

and whispers that you may be old.


Then, when tired and slow and eroded by years,

you fall asleep while watching the news.

your children’s children at your feet

smile to see you nodding there,

then dream, yes dream of what you were,

then wake when you have had your sleep,

and find your glasses, find this page,

no, find your glasses first, my love,

then take this book,

and read this poem

and think that out of all the rest,

there was one who loved you best.