Monday, 25 December 2017

Poetry Revisited: To an Old Fogey by Owen Seaman

To an Old Fogey

Who Contends that Christmas is Played Out


(from In Cap and Bells: 1900)

O frankly bald and obviously stout!
And so you find that Christmas as a fête
Dispassionately viewed, is getting out
Of date.

The studied festal air is overdone;
The humour of it grows a little thin;
You fail, in fact, to gather where the fun
Comes in.

Visions of very heavy meals arise
That tend to make your organism shiver;
Roast beef that irks, and pies that agonise
The liver;

Those pies at which you annually wince,
Hearing the tale how happy months will follow
Proportioned to the total mass of mince
You swallow.

Visions of youth whose reverence is scant,
Who with the brutal verve of boyhood's prime
Insist on being taken to the pant-
-omime.

Of infants, sitting up extremely late,
Who run you on toboggans down the stair;
Or make you fetch a rug and simulate
A bear.

This takes your faultless trousers at the knees,
The other hurts them rather more behind;
And both effect a fracture in your ease
Of mind.

My good dyspeptic, this will never do;
Your weary withers must be sadly wrung!
Yet once I well believe that even you
Were young.

Time was when you devoured, like other boys,
Plum-pudding sequent on a turkey-hen;
With cracker-mottos hinting of the joys
Of men.

Time was when 'mid the maidens you would pull
The fiery raisin with profound delight;
When sprigs of mistletoe seemed beautiful
And right.

Old Christmas changes not! Long, long ago
He won the treasure of eternal youth;
Yours is the dotage—if you want to know
The truth.

Come, now, I'll cure your case, and ask no fee:—
Make others' happiness this once your own;
All else may pass: that joy can never be
Outgrown!

Owen Seaman (1861-1936)
British writer, journalist and poet

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