As a result, no doubt, of some bureaucratic oversight,
The summers were upon them long before the candles could be lit
And the taste of cake could mingle on juvenile pallets
With the fizzing presumption of a surreptitious glass of champagne.
She watched seasons ripen, each a hushed dress rehearsal for the next,
Conspiring to make weather a matter of urgency in the conversation of adults,
An activity so disciplined and repetitive to have turned banality into an art.
She will not be fooled by their promise of gifts.
Not for her this induction into the mundane.
Let others architect time into measured sequences of years;
It is for them to cling jubilant to the breeze of ageing cycles
Until the last splinter of sunlight dissects a wrinkled nose
To find that it no longer leaves a trace of vapour on the mirror.
Lost in the dream of a celebrant sun, with cherries for earrings
And the taste of strawberries rouging the curve of her lips,
La belle du jour hid from view in the crown of a walnut tree
Determined to let the day pass in an almost slanderous understatement.