Young Dylan didn’t get it right
It’s not the dying of the light
That sends the old into a rage
What really gets them mad is age
Or ‘ageism’ if you prefer
The one ‘ism’ we all can share

Provided we live long enough
How long exactly is the tough
Old nut, it used to be three score
And ten but there’s a new glass floor
In Poetry you’re scarce alive
If you are more than forty-five

The biographical detail
That caused the editor to quail?
The poet born in ’48
Which makes him, let me calculate
Why, all of fifty-four, b’gad
he’s even older than my Dad!

And so, old fart, no room for you
In our anthology of New
Young Poets even if your work
Is good enough, we will not shirk
Our duty to portray our book
As young and trendy and new-look

Imagine yourself at our launch
The last thing we need is a bunch
Of geriatrics in wheelchairs
How would we get you up the stairs?
Where you would guzzle all the wine
And fall asleep by half past nine

And long before that, make a fuss
By interrupting with a cuss
To say the speaker can’t be heard
(Your hearing aid should be repaired!)
But when it’s your turn on the floor
You read with 20 dB roar

No, we don’t want you falling ill
Or scrabbling for your bad heart pill
Or falling down to break your hip
Or wiping your proboscis drip
(Or worse, not wiping it at all)
Or shuffling loo-ward down the hall

So, off with you, please leave the floor
Don’t make a fuss, don’t slam the door
Don’t moan at us, it’s not our fault
That you’re as old as Dead Sea salt
But let us do you one good turn
And send your poems to Age Concern!