To Mel at 60
(with apologies to Rudyard Kipling)
If you can keep on rising each day early
to swim and run and cycle in the rain
can miss the family fun and not be surly
because you’re lifting weights and must cross-train;
If you precede the body crush on entry
glide in the swimmer’s slipstream just ahead
remember to stroke round the lane-way buoy
and reach transition point still in the lead;
If you at once can change, eat, drink, and helmet
then mount that bike and grip those handlebars
pedal hills, declines, curves without an upset
and don’t get in the way of passing cars;
If tortured legs survive all of that motion
and make it through the gruelling running stage
we’ll know you’re in possession of youth’s potion
oh Ironman, doomed to live twice your age!
© 2012 by Violet Nesdoly
This is what is often called an “occasional poem,” that is, a poem written for a special occasion. This occasion was a friend’s 60th birthday (in early June this year). My fit friend has recently taken up running in triathlons, so I tried to reflect that in my poem.
It’s fun to write poems for special occasions. I’ve written them for birthdays, funerals, anniversaries, and I even wrote and read a poem to my daughter on her wedding day.
This is also an imitation poem in that it mimics a well-known piece. I’m sure you recognize Rudyard Kipling’s famous “If—” in the wording, structure and rhythm. Writing imitation poems can be a lot of fun (I even had one in quarrtsiluni this February!).
Have you written occasional poems? Imitation poems? I’d love to hear about them (or even read them) in the comments.
This post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted this week by Bibliophile at Life Is Better With Books.