“Well, George,” announced the young man
“I'd like to take this opportunity to say”
And then he said. And George listened
To talk of duty, thanks, token of recognition
“for twenty-five years' loyal-”
What? Twenty-five? It was forty-four!
Would have been forty-eight if it wasn't for the war.
George looked up, but his tightening throat
Someone else intervened,
The young man apologised and explained
How he had got his retirees mixed up
And George saw what had happened,
Saw everything that had ever happened,
And reassured the young man
That it can happen to anyone.