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Jonathan Taylor

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,

obscene, scatological

accompanied by ratchet

and swanee whistle.

 

May we fart in the general direction

of clergy, men in suits, aristocracy,

snigger inappropriately

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."