Thursday, 18 October 2018

A poem by Julia D McGuinness

Eightieth Birthday Blues 

Got a Beach Hut Birdhouse and a Chocolate Welly Boot,
an Avocado Hugger, Zazzle Tie for my suit,
Prosecco Bath Bomb, Anti-sarcasm Spray.
It’s my birthday, Baby and I’m Eighty today.

I could go Dolphin-watching or Fly a Tiger Moth.
Give a Rose a Name or Adopt a Sloth.
Take a Ride in a Balloon, Sail a Luxury Yacht,
It’s my birthday, Baby, Eighty years is what I’ve got.

Same year as Arthur Scargill and Diana Rigg.
Perhaps they’ll get a Sundial or a Handmade Leather Pig?
Gold Watch for David Dimbleby and for Eleanor Bron,
They’ve got birthdays, Baby, and Eighty’s right on.

Every gift is ‘personalised’, ‘thoughtful’ or ‘unique’:
a Ferrero Rocher Sweet Tree I could live on for a week.
I’ve got a Brexit Cookbook; Retirement for Beginners.
It’s my birthday, Baby, I’m an Octo-winner!

I’m smooth as new-born Teflon, bright as colour TV;
the Picture Post and Beano share a starting year with me.
I’m crisp as freeze-dried coffee and the ballpoint pen,
It’s my birthday, Baby, and I’m eight times ten.

Such number-focussed fuss? Don’t want to put a damper
on my walking-booted Birthday Cake and Pamper Hamper.
But questions bubble up as I’m knocking back the fizz
by my gleaming Garden Sign: No Idea What This Is.

Julia D McGuinness lives in Cheshire with her husband and four cats where she writes, counsels and runs writing workshops, including sessions with cancer patients. She belongs to the Lapidus International network of writing for well-being practitioners. Her poems have appeared online at Ink, Sweat and Tears, Clear Poetry, Nutshells and Nuggets, Silver Birch Press among others, and commended in poetry competitions with Poetry Space and Wirral Festival of Firsts. Her debut collection, Chester City Walls, came out in 2015 with Poetry Space. You can find her at

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