Your last summer
we tried launching a kite
in the iron shadow of Silloth’s sheds
but despite high winds
nothing would fly.
In old age*
may all our gags be Eulenspiegelian,
accompanied by ratchet
and swanee whistle.
May we fart in the general direction
of clergy, men in suits, aristocracy,
at moments of national mourning
tell picaresque anecdotes
about wars we never fought,
crude jokes sans punchlines.
Till finally, in a senile Carry On,
may our trousers fall down
on the gallows,
may our death rattles be raspberries,
our epitaph a moon, not poetry,
and, pace Larkin, in the hereafter
may what survive of us be laughter.
*After Richard Strauss, Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche
Jonathan Taylor is an author, editor, lecturer and critic. His books include the novel Melissa (Salt, 2015), the memoir Take Me Home (Granta, 2007), and the poetry collection Cassandra Complex (Shoestring, 2018). He directs the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester. He lives in Leicestershire with his wife, the poet Maria Taylor, and their twin daughters, Miranda and Rosalind. His website is www.jonathanptaylor.co.uk."