The party is over and I sit among
The flotsam that its passing leaves,
The dirty glasses and fag-ends:
Outside, a black wind grieves.
Two decades and a half of marriage;
It does not really seem as long,
Of youth’s ebullient song.
David, my son, my loved rival,
And Julia, my tapering daughter,
Now grant me one achievement only;
I turn their wine to water.
And Helen, partner of all these years,
Helen, my spouse, my sack of sighs,
Reproaches me for every hurt
With injured, bovine eyes.
There must have been passion once, I grant,
But neither she nor I could bear
To have its ghost come prowling from
Its dark and frowsy lair.
And we, to keep our nuptials warm,
Still wage sporadic war;
Numb with insult each yet strives
To scratch the other raw.
Twenty-five years we’ve now survived;
I’m not sure either why or how
As I sit with a wreath of quarrels set
On my tired and balding brow.