by Henry Quince

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Spectacles are Death’s arquebuse — old proverb

No squinting youngster comes within its scope:
that old long-muzzled gun, a harbinger
of darkness set to close all that we were,
is trained on the mature. Eyes cease to cope
as well from forty-five or so; small hope
that exercise or diet can defer
the slide — the book held further, text a blur:
one exit only from this downward slope.

As presbyopia — old sight — takes hold
and reading-magnifier need grows bigger,
accommodation quits the oculus.
Bifocals, then! The blood runs sudden cold:
Death’s finger whitens, tightens on the trigger
of his short, double-barrelled blunderbuss.

Henry Quince (“avuncular with a hint of menace”) lives in Australia and travels. A big moustache goes everywhere with him. He’s been published here and there.

See links to all sonnets by this author

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Pat Jones
Published 20 May 2010