My father’s turning sixty-nine,
an age, I think, that’s very fine
if one were a vintage wine
(the grapes long withered on the vine).
Though like a long forgotten mine,
buried with no trace nor sign
in a forest grove of oak and pine,
Death hangs upon both thee and thine.
But it is not for us to clear define
nor perceive that hidden line
when the bread of life on which we dine
dries and rots on the fork’s tine.
So, as you begin your long decline,
my father, my own kith and kind,
May you only have that of most refine,
And may your birthday candles always shine.