50 something

For my Mum and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary

Something must have been there

through fifty summers of heat haze,

sunburn itching against bedclothes,

fear feeding off smoke in the nostrils

and eating salads at dusk.

 

Something must have been there

through fifty autumns of leaf mulch,

weak sun fighting the descending cool,

watching the first football sail over the fence

and surrendering to a fire.

 

Something must have been there

through fifty winters of grey wet,

clothes damp-steaming on horses,

darkness enclosing work, to and fro,

and soup-and-toasting Sundays.

 

Something must have been there

through fifty years of spring treachery,

winter’s skeleton dressed in summer clothes,

frost-bitten life triumphing over fading death

and all things seeming possible.

 

Something must have been there,

through fifty years of seasons sweet and bitter,

settling differences through closeness and separation,

learning life is not a line but a circle

and, in the end, you are beginning again.

 

You have the rest of your life

to tell each other what it was,

and is,

starting now.

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