My head is bald, my breath is bad,
Unshaven is my chin,
I have not now the joys I had
When I was young in sin.
I run my fingers down your dress
With brandy-certain aim,
And you respond to my caress
And maybe feel the same.
But I've a feeling of my own
On this reunion night,
Wherein two skeletons are shown
To hold each other tight.
Dark sockets look on emptiness
That once was loving-eyed,
The mouth that opens for a kiss
Has got no tongue inside.
I cling to you inflamed with fear
As now you cling to me;
I feel how frail you are, my dear,
And wonder what will be.
A week? Or twenty years remain?
And then- what kind of death?
A losing fight with frightful pain
Or a gasping fight for breath?
Too long we let our bodies cling,
We cannot hide disgust
At all the thoughts that in us spring
From this late flowering lust.
-Sir John Betjeman-