You burned upon high that People roasted themselves freely For the basking in your glory.
Oven-rooms sweltered, Even the air treacled thick With your presence as your light turned.
A light, as the day goes on begins to lack the lustre of the noon. It’s shafts in cloud-break are now pale.
Now, a chill dances, caressing the burnt. Nature’s fruits blaze scarlet, as Your glow dies down a golden ember.
The wheel has turned and as Summer peaks, so begins it’s Multi-coloured descent.
Your glory only rivalled By that of the Silver Huntress, Your power wanes as her kisses soothe the burned and tired.
This poem was actually worked from A draft written back in 2007! I’ve edited it and even though the photo’s weren’t taken in August this year, it’s my aim they capture the duality of day and night at this time of changing season. August can be balmy and sticky, or wet and cool, but it’s the month we really begin to see the turn in the land and the shortening of days.
This isn’t my usual post, but it’s not everyday you hit a milestone year.
And so last week, I turned 40….
And the world didn’t end (no, Covid-19 you don’t count!), and I didn’t suddenly get old and wrinkly at the stroke of 11:45 pm and I certainly didn’t feel my life was suddenly “over”.
If anything, I felt…. energised, reborn even!
I celebrated with a socially distant garden party at my parent’s house back in Sheffield. With Devi, my parental units and my brother. Not the large family meal with all my cousins that I was hoping for, but I was thankful I could at least have this. With those closest to me.
I remember my 20th birthday….
Working in the Warner-Village Cinema at Meadhowhall Shopping Centre (that would be a Mall, for my Western readers and friends). In the summer of 2000. Thanks to a very tongue-in-cheek letter on the wall describing Meadowhall as “The paedophillic cess-pool”, I still chuckle at this thought whenever I go back there. I was working the later day shift and the sun had just gone down by the time I was on my way home. The air was warm, the light breeze bringing a welcome coolness. A car cheekily beeped me as I waited for the pedestrian crossing to turn green. I didn’t recognise the driver, she was blonde, had a big grin and wore sunglasses at night. I think I was still grinning to myself when I got home. My parents, my brother and two friendsof the family were there and we celebrated my 20th year with cold beer and an Indian take-away….
Which was simple, but memorable; My 21st was shit.
The night before my 40th, Devi and I celebrated with steaks, red wine (Argentinian Malbec) and Netflix’s ‘Old Guard’. Very different affair! Especially on the actual birthday when it was as British (and Yorkshire) as they come: tea, sandwiches, pork pie and black pudding. We even had handmade scones (Devi’s awesome like that) with clotted cream and strawberry jam! Devi and I brought the gazebo and we all sat in the garden with the multi weather: strong breeze, bit of sunshine, bit of rain. My Dad offered beer and so I joined him in going to the fridge in the garage: a choice of bottled ales. I laughed aloud when I realised I chose the one with the Boar on it. I showed Devi, she knew, I would have tried explaining it to my family, but they wouldn’t have got it. I’m the only Pagan in that village, so to speak!
In many ways I’m the same impatient, creative, dreaming and geeky 20 year old (Yep, we still have Vampire: The Masquerade in the future, younger me!) In many ways, I’m not. I’ve grown experientially, emotionally, mentally.
In the past 20 years I’d moved home 13 times, lived in 5 cities, been married, been divorced, watched three pets die had two put to sleep. I’ve been a working actor, a goth wannabe, a punk wannabe, a Morris dancer, an event organiser, a story teller, a spiritual leader, a blogger, a salesman…. an actor again and last year even a celebrant! I was able to find love again in Devi who not only let me into her heart, but her home. And we’re having our own adventures and I’m fully appreciating that we are sharing our lives together.
I’m not one of those who looks back on my life and thinks they failed. I look back and say “Whoah! Dude!”
Sure, there are times I’d fucked up (My very first blog goes on about that a bit!), there are times I let myself down, there are times I made mistakes. No one is perfect and we are all human.
In the week before, I lost my cool in the most immature way: due to a minor irritation I got really angry. I grabbed the nearest thing to hand: a roll of cellotape and threw it during my rage. What made it worse was I was throwing it at a display and kept missing! I threw this a few more times at the target until I had enough. The deputy boss (who is 18 years my junior) advised if I was ever to lose my shit again, don’t do it on the shop floor. I played it on the surface of one who got it out of their system. Deep down I was mortified: so this is how my 30’s ends…. In a tantrum.
So on the last night of being 39, after washing my face, I looked myself in the eye and said out loud:
“You can’t go on like this. You can either behave like a child or you can behave like a man. Your choice.”
Even I was surprised at the wording of that, but when you’re being frank with yourself, the truth finds its voice.
I am completely aware that I would now be classed as an “Old man” in the Bronze Age. And in the modern age where we live for much longer, I am grateful enough to take this as a sort of ‘Second Chance’.
The 20 year old me would lash out at every annoyance. Would lose control whenever his blood rose up and would even punch the nearest object when angry.
I can’t do that anymore. I’m not a child and I’m not a young man with temper management issues.
You see, I fully subscribe to the idea of being dignified in age. I see other men not much older than me behaving like they are still 21 and I shake my head, grumbling how they “Should know better”. Judgemental? Very! But if we’re ever to set a good example for younger generations, then don’t we owe it, both us and them, to set the bar?
The saying goes “Life begins at Forty”…. And staying true to my Generation X vintage: 1980…. I intend to do just that. 🤘🏻😎