You Are Old, Father William
"You are old, Father William," the young man said,
"And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head-
Do you think, at your age age, it is right?"
"In my youth," Father William replied to his son,
"I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again."
"You are old," said the youth, " as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back somersault in at the door-
Pray, what is the reason of that?"
"In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
"I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment-one shilling the box-
Allow me to sell you a couple?"
"You are old," said the youth, " and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the back-
Pray, how did you manage to do it?"
"In my youth," said his father, "I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life."
You are old," said the youth, "one would hardly suppose
That your eye was steady as ever;
Yet, you balanced an eel on the end of your nose-
What made you so awfully clever?"
"I have answered three questions, and that is enough,"
Said his father. "Don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I'll kick you downstairs!"
Seriously people, I am going to sort and get organised today. There are bags of outgrown clothes stashed in the garage and boxes of toddler toys and books looking for a new home. Rather than dump our old but good quality gear at the charity shop, (particularly as they seem to have become fashionable places for middle class 'thrifting'), I prefer to donate to organisations whose missions align with my values. Some of my favourite ones in Canberra include Karinya House for mothers and babies, St John's Care at the parish in Reid and the Refugee Resettlement Committee at St John the Apostle in Kippax. Small groups of people doing specific work to meet practical needs.
Photo by me: The Strong Silent One's work boots. He probably thinks they have a few good years of service left in them. Intended to depict the old and worn, not an item suitable for charity, although I daresay these boots would be welcomed by the very poor in the Third World. Sad thought really, and one which always bothers me when we need to discard our used and outgrown things.