The Twenty-Ninth came round today
It’s years since last she passed my way,
But on my birthday, there she was –
Alas, she couldn’t stay.
But that’s because that’s what she does –
She rarely comes to play.
I shrug, and try to not get sad –
For oh, when she does appear,
It always makes a special year,
Like an Olympiad.
It’s not a proper birthday, I might add,
When she’s not here.
You come so soft, sweet Twenty-Ninth,
The sum of quarter-days –
You take unmissed those surplus whiles,
And solar-annual strays;
And whether you are bursting Spring
Or Winter’s final greys –
You come for free, or so it seems,
Through mathematic ways.
We owe it all to Julius,
Who’s clock the Earth obeys:
He holds in trust your orphan times,
And four years on, repays.
I heard him say the universe
Is held within a glass of wine –
And yes, it’s true there’s science,
Even at the table when we dine –
The way the light reflects, refracts –
The way the liquid lets it shine –
The glass that’s made from sand-made-clear,
By how its molecules align –
And evolution never sleeps,
To accident’ly sculpt the vine.
So let me raise a toast to Richard
With this universe of mine.
The friendly weeds are rambling over
The concrete desert flats.
Dandelions, rich as clover,
Are cracking through the slats.
And people too, with dogs and cats,
And lawns and privet hedges,
Have made a world for noisy brats
To soften brutal edges.
But certain sniffy poets would
Look down on all this life,
And cannot see the neighbourhood
Within the urban strife.
And yes, the ugliness is rife
Compared to York or Kent,
But here a working man and wife
Can still afford the rent.
My mind I leave to science, to probe and to dissect,
To extract and to magnify each secret and regret.
To show up my ideas that I never got to note,
Or poems I was writing but I somehow never wrote,
Or stories for the telling that I never passed along,
Or maybe sweetest music for my never sung-out song.
Work swift with my ditherings, these children may yet make
An epitaph of dreams to be awoken at my wake.