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Sirach at 70

Sirach finished his 70th year
And found he found it hard to hear
The toasts that all his loved ones gave –
But swore they all mentioned the grave.
The sons that he had helped to raise
The daughters he had heaped with praise
“Their voices blend and dully mumble
But I am sure I caught a grumble:
‘It’s true that he has blessed us greatly
But exactly what has he done for us lately?’
My wife, the apple of my eye
Seems to wish I’d up and die
The eyes that said that she adored me
Now make me feel a bull has gored me.”
Sirach looked around the room
And felt a growing sense of gloom.
“This family that I helped create
Seems to find it hard to wait
To put me six feet underground
Or somewhere else I won’t be found
What can I do? Have I a choice?”
Just then, he heard a still, small voice
A Holy Spirit that inspired him
To write before the family fired him.
“This trick? I call it Old Reliable
Put this in the family Biable:
‘Take care of your father when he is old
Don’t bump him off and grab his gold
If he spills his soup, do not revile him
If he seems cranky, do not rile him
With hateful words do not assail him
Even if his mind should fail him.'”
Like Sirach, my old man is wise
So it should come as no surprise
When my Dad opened up the Word
Sirach was the book we heard.


  1. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

    Threescore and Ten, Caution.

    Seriously, mazal tov!

  2. Does this mean I have to write a graphic novel for my dad on his eightieth?

    But seriously, well done and wonderful rhymes! It seems to beg an accompanying tune, some cross between klesmer and French cafe music with a power accordion riff thrown in just for good measure.


    • And since I assume he’ll be reading your offering:

      Happy Birthday, Mr. Lickona!

      Come out to the farm!


      • Lifeblogging says

        He heard it at dinner the other night. But Potter posts birthday poems for his family, so I figured it was fair game. Power accordion is never not the right answer.

  3. All of the above and more. Splendid, splendid poem.

  4. Happy birthday, Dr. Lickona!

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