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Where are those Peter Pans
who with a single voice
proclaimed they had such plans,
these bachelors of arts,
mugging up Horace, Proust and Joyce,
and setting fire to farts?

We would drink real ale together,
the stars of our generation,
by equal turns ironic, clever,
proclaiming our solidarity
with great causes, conversation
punctured by loud hilarity.

They should be here, refining
their moves in disco dancing,
cavorting dervish-like, and miming
desire with tightly trousered hips;
while singing Hi Ho Silver Lining
signalled the queue for chips.

We would talk till four a.m.,
play another poker game,
these boys – nostalgia’s supermen –
till some great love unspoken
might freeze us in that single frame,
unageing and unbroken.

They should be here, those faces
laughing for simple joy
of life; now, with their spaces
marked by memories and stones,
they are survived by a clumsy boy
bearing an old man’s bones.