You Are Old, Father William (with apologies to Lewis Carroll)
(Slightly revised from the version that appeared in The Los Angeles Times and used here by permission)
"You are old, Father William," the young man said,
"And the money's become very tight,
And yet you'll spend anything not to be dead --
Do you think, at your age, it is right?"
"In my youth," Father William replied to his son,
"I figured that old folks should die,
But now that I'm perfectly sure that I'm one,
I do not see a good reason why."
"You are old," said the son, "as I mentioned before.
So consider your grandson's position,
Since the money that keeps you away from death's door
Could be used for his college tuition.''
"I am old," Father William replied with a frown,
"But I've not taken leave of my wits!
I should croak so young Willie can study at Brown?
Be off, or I'll blow you to bits!"
-- Felicia Nimue Ackerman