A Bit of Sweet Old Fashioned

there’s a little bit of sweet old-fashioned coming on
and I am bracing to lead the way and be the one
to say the words we need to hear out loud
it’s my turn
and I’m ready

in the traditional way I can gather up the numbers
brought together for a moment of salute and toast
and the babble of good natured joy and heart deep wishes
they’re all willing
and they’re ready

I could make a speech out of the many things
words of praise and wish you well and love you but
I don’t really think that’s right and might lead to fear
of too much said
if he’s not ready

I know it’s not old-fashioned and it doesn’t satisfy
but it might be better if I whisper things I need to say
in a corner with a quiet word and tearful hug before I ask you
to raise your glasses
when you’re ready

© Frank Prem, 2001

Published under the title ‘Toast’ in Manifold Magazine #38 (UK) May 2001

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