I turned 75 last Sunday, and have been casting around for something to put a positive spin on this – OK, I now get a free TV licence but otherwise compensations seem thin on the ground. But I do take some heart from this poem of old age by G.K.Chesterton, that combines serenity with a typically Chestertonian sense of how extraordinary and precious the ordinary is.
Lo! I am come to autumn
When all the leaves are gold;
Grey hairs and golden leaves cry out
The year and I am old.
In youth I sought the prince of men,
Captain in cosmic wars,
Our Titan, even the weeds would show
Defiant, to the stars.
But now a great thing in the street
Seems any human nod,
Where shift in strange democracy
The million masks of God.
In youth I sought the golden flower
Hidden in wood or wold,
But I am come to autumn
When all the leaves are gold.