Birthday Poems


               Birthday Poems


   The Fiftieth Rung on the Ladder of Life

Methinks it be not super nifty

When one turns the magic fifty!

  Forsooth, it seems both bod’ and mind

                            Hath nature ravaged, most unkind!


Unbeknownst, time took its toll,

And now, though willing in heart and soul,

I call to my feet, “I’m in a running mood!”

They answer back, “Forget it, Dude!

The only thing we want to feel

Is a cushioned footstool under the heel!”


Durst I not know?  I anguish and weep

That now I choose an afternoon’s sleep

Instead of football, baseball, or track.

And incentive to work?  I totally lack!


“To be or not to be!” The question rages.

The answer ballyhooed down through the ages.

But as for me, my response is thrifty,

“Don’t ask me, Bub, I just turned fifty!”


Bob Downing   May 5, 1993 


                             Nothing Rhymes with "Sixty!"

             Nothing rhymes with "sixty" as one turns the annual page.

Nothing rhymes with sixty; it’s an awkward, frustrating age!

Too young to be old; too old to be young

                         Concerned your life’s song has already been sung.


The memories of the past grow longer…yet fade,

While the future once dreamed seems fainter in life’s shade.

Helpless and hapless, trapped in time’s ceaseless tide,

Then saved from the gloom by, “Hey, Papaw! Come outside!”


The message becomes clear.  It’s not the future or past,

But the present is where our legacy is cast.

Children and grandchildren, the caress of a wife,

The closeness of a family…therein lies life.


With His hand to guide us as we travel along

Everything rhymes with sixty…if you play the right song! 

Bob Downing   May 5, 2003



Three score and ten” the Scriptures do say

Are the days of our years; we then “fly away.” *

An endless time…through the eyes of the young…

Becomes hauntingly brief when life’s song is near sung.


The horizons once faced are now memories long past.

The victories and triumphs so cherished did not last.

The failures, the heartaches, the losses, and schemes

Of a life poorly spent bring nights’ tortured dreams.


The curtains of our minds in the dark of the night

Draw open to reveal a troubling sight…

Unlimited youth with its promise and fun

Has vanished away like the dew in the sun.


The desires, the passions, the zest for the day

Are like snowflakes that fall and soon melt away.

The finish, once distant, looms alarmingly near

And the memories of life become ever so dear.


The goals, once assumed, are now elusively caught,

And the emotion of love becomes merely a thought. 

Deeds once accomplished with hardly a strain

Are now deeds but dreamed and seldom without pain.


But continue we must, and through effort and strength

The days of our lives may be increased in length.*

With happiness and love and good deeds to lend

Three score and ten” could be when we begin.

Bob Downing May 5, 2013

*Psalm 90:10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; 

And if by reason of strength they be fourscore years,

Yet is their strength labour and sorrow; 
For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.


       The Eightieth Year


In the circle of life, there’s a beginning and end

And the completion of such is a loss or a win.

A life once viewed with challenge and dare

Becomes but a vapor which fades in the air.


Memories become longer while the future grows slim

Strength becomes fleeting and vision becomes dim.

Failures and losses bring an occasional tear

While victories and triumphs remain crystal clear.


With the eightieth year comes quiet resignation

What goals have been reached bring mild satisfaction.

An acceptance of completion of a marathon race

And a dream of transition to a better place.


The promises of Scripture become vibrant and clear

When the prospects of receiving those prizes draw near.

A life well lived, with His guiding hand,

Brings eternal reward in that heavenly land.


Bob Downing   May 5, 2023