We recently ran a small workshop, or gathering, to discuss 're-inventing retirement'. One of the attendees mentioned a poem that Brendan Kennelly had written on the subject of retirement as a new beginning. It's worth quoting at length….
Begin again to the summoning birds
to the sight of light at the window,
begin to the roar of morning traffic
all along Pembroke Road.
Every beginning is a promise
born in light and dying in dark
determination and exaltation of springtime
flowering the way to work.
Begin to the pageant of queuing girls
the arrogant loneliness of swans on the canal
bridges linking the past and future
old friends passing through with us still.
Begin to the loneliness that cannot end
since it perhaps is what makes us begin,
begin to wonder at unknown faces
at crying birds in the sudden rain
at branches stark in the willing sunlight
at seagulls foraging for bread
at couples sharing a sunny secret
alone together while making good.
Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
that always seems about to give in
Something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that we forever begin.
Professor of Modern Literature
On completing one of our [RCP] Retirement Planning courses in May 2005.