For a friend on the occasion of their birthday.




Seasons come and go, dutifully wiping their feet as they enter and leave the year.

It looks like change but it’s not, it’s just the rhythms of your life,

A life that’s learnt how to watch, how to catch,

And appreciate life happening around them.


You look at it with that certain eye, a brutal artist’s one,

That piece of yourself you’ve learnt the hard way,

To hide away, away, away,

Armoured away for this needed day.


It’s a landscape, a picture in front of you,

And though you love it, it’s just not enough.

There’s too much restless spirit in you to stand and play the watcher.


You should be satisfied, be grateful and accept your blessings,

Look out into the bay and watch the sun sliding down into the sea,

Be content to just idly wonder where it’s going, what it’s illuminating.


Perhaps new men, new minds, a new way of thinking about things,

A new ascetic or a new Bacchanalian feast of the senses,

A whole new idea of us.


It doesn’t matter which, you don’t care, you have to meet them and converse.


The need is still there to assuage that restless spirit,

The thing supposedly extinguished by age,

The thing which yet rages and smoulders within you,

Long past the sated years of youth.


A fire still burns within you.


You look around and token the odds.

Behind you, a staid acceptance of being safe,

Of who they think you should be, of how venal we all are, of smallness,

Of how we’re nothing more than destructive children,

Vandalising the carefully trimmed hedges of Eden.


That’s their terrible world, their stunted horizon.

There are no adventures nor adventurers,

No risks, no dangers, no sharp edges, no heroes left in it,

Nothing to be gained by a stout heart.


You can not, will not, accept that.


In the end, you have to leave the safe anchorage,

Have to chase that setting Sun wherever it might lead.

A doubtful voyage out into the unknown,

Determined to sail far beyond the portals of experience.


You hoist high your sail for the open seas and the perilous adventure,

Out through the Pillars of Hercules and westward into the unknown ocean,

The one you know no mortal man has ever returned from.


That risk, you’ll accept gladly.


And if you should perish out on that strange ocean,

It won’t be alone in the vastness of it,

For you’ll perish in the company of fellow Argonauts,

With no regrets, and with a full heart.


You’re sailing free into the blue.



Related articles by Pointman:

Am I still on that feckin’ planet?

Click for a list of other articles.


3 Responses to “For a friend on the occasion of their birthday.”
  1. Old Rooster says:

    Multa ferunt anni venientes commoda secum, Multa recedentes adimiunt”—Horace, Ars Poetica


  2. budbromley says:

    Excellent. Thanks for that.


  3. Blackswan says:

    Though much is taken, much abides; and though
    We are not now that strength which in the old days
    Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are,
    One equal-temper of heroic hearts,
    Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
    To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

    Alfred Lord Tennyson


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