An Old Oar’s Dilemma

Photo: Hélène Rémond

25 May 2019

By Larry Fogelberg

Henley week arrives, and the old boy‘s getting dressed.
How many races had he won, and all at whose behest?
The coxswains‘, sure, but all those coaches‘, too,
In school, in college, his club, and foremost for his blue.

Another club then wanted him, a blue of any shade,
At Henley, with its colors, his was its strongest blade.
No other crew could match their soaring pace.
The last day, of course, they won the final race.

Henley week arrives, and the old boy‘s getting dressed.
How can he show the crowd where he had done his best?
Not out of pride, of course, just to find his old crew mates,
The ones he had rowed with in all those different eights.

His hair was thinner, his waist was not,
But his belly was still not a pot.
The trousers and blazer would be a tight fit,
But somehow he would wear all his old kit.

Henley week arrives, and the old boy’s getting dressed.
The cerise socks fit, now called pink, but then the rest?
The white flannels with blue pinstripes had been let out,
But buttoning them and buckling was still a bit of a bout.

The blazer was light blue, hadn’t been buttoned in years.
Would it not fit over his old school’s sweater, he fears.
Then which tie, which cap of his clubs? The older tie,
The cap of the Henley winners for the first week in July.

Henley week arrived, and the old boy was dressed,
Too warm in all the wool, but bystanders were impressed.

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