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Poetry Pleases: Natales Grate Numeras?

John Ayling recalls his 97th birthday with particular pleasure.

As I look back across the years
Few birthdays I remember
Although I well recall that we
Were married in September

But this year's birthday will abide
In my mind with pleasure
The day when I was ninety-seven
I will ever treasure.

Old friends and neighbours at my door
Felicitations bringing,
While my dear wife, whom I adore
Set my heart a-singing.

Maxine, whom I thought I knew
Came and kissed me in my pew
And all the congregation too
Sang “Happy Birthday to you”

Then came the Bishop, crimson clad
To bring me greetings more
From himself and Lichfield
Which they'd not done before

And so, when I am really old
I shall with gratitude recall
The day when I was ninety seven
Best birthday of them all.

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