Off to a reunion of former work colleagues in London today. This is an annual event which has now taken place for more than thirty years which gives some indication of my age. But age is something that is never discussed at this event. Death, alas is never far from the conversations as we all talk about those who are no longer at the event. That is not to say that the get together has the appearance of a wake; on the contrary, the atmosphere is always upbeat, looking back on the good times and bemoaning how things have changed dramatically in our former workplace and how we (well, most of us) are well out of it now.
So, a poem for today which I wrote many years ago, when I was not half way through my working career, and which relates to a meeting of old schoolmates as I imagined it might be. Thankfully, it has not come to this, since I am still in contact with these guys almost sixty years since we were kids together, and it is not a maudlin experience as the poem suggests.
We all came back last year like ghosts
Eager to haunt. Old souls converging.
Each face observed and wondered
If that was how they looked as well:
All smiles just lined the faces further.
Handshakes were a bit too firm.
Slaps on the back were ill-advised
And laughter just a touch too hearty.
The anecdotes all showed their age,
As nostalgia struggled to find its feet
In anybody’s company. But then
Those youthful years were all long gone.
An embarrassed grin:
‘No thanks, I don’t drink gin.
Or anything else.’ A light tap
On the liver to explain. ‘OK, old chap.’
Old chap? Aren’t we all?