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The Oldest Man Alive by David Hornsby

Arts Richmond

Online - 03 September 2020

The Oldest Man Alive by David Hornsby

It happened, many years ago

One market day at Walthamstow,

A man called Adam Mickelthwaite

Unpacked his wares soon after eight.

A crowd had gathered round his stall

And Adam welcomed one and all:

“My friends,” he cried, “I’m in my prime!

I’ve lived for years untouched by Time!

Now I’m the Oldest Man Alive

And here’s the reason I survive:

The secret of eternal youth

Lies in these bottles... That’s the truth!

Roll up! Roll up!” exhorted Adam.

“You’ll have two bottles? Thank you, Madam!

(How charmingly he smiled at her!)

You’ll have a dozen? Thank you, Sir!

Come, try my remedy today

And keep the march of Time at bay!”

When Adam had no more to sell

He bade them all a fond farewell.


Yet Adam never did grow old...

One day he caught a nasty cold.

They called a doctor and a nurse 

And finally, when he grew worse

His patent remedy was tried

And shortly afterwards he died.


His tombstone states, above the date:

“Here lies Adam Mickelthwaite.

Known as the Oldest Man Alive.

He passed away, aged thirty-five"


from ABOUT TIME, the 2019 anthology of shortlisted entries from The Roger McGough Poetry Prize. Copies of this Anthology can be purchased for £5 including P&P from Arts Richmond.

The Oldest Man Alive by David Hornsby

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