15 MARCH 1963, Page 22

Many Happy Returns

You have not changed a bit —Wearing that mohair suit And that immaculate mouth: The black skirt tight on your knees, The red lips firm on your teeth. Nobody says to you yet (Nobody, surely, would dare) That you're not as young as you were.

That elegant stride's unchanged —Tight hem, and upstretched neck; Recurrent like birthdays your heels Give their definitive click; If the powder cakes on your cheek You can make it up as you turn Into your thirtieth year, Not quite as young as you were.

The crack in the mirror cuts Your perfect face in two; A tooth drops out of your comb; Another hole in your shoe?

Buttons drop off like the years; Your hairbrush is losing its hairs.

All of it, all of it says No one's as young as he was.