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Were you like me a numbers lad
Happy when there were stairs to be counted?
Did you drive friends and relations mad
At the slow and serious way you mounted,
Loudly reckoning off each one,
A special mantra, not childish fun?

Years between then and now went fine,
With a top floor flat I never worried,
Took steps at a run – were there forty nine?
I didn't notice when life was hurried.

Do you think that someone added stairs
With risers between a whole lot deeper
Catching us breathless and unawares
(While the road outside grew steadily steeper)?
My knees are aching and so's my spine
As I count: the total's still forty nine.