and now I’m seven and seventy

Six years ago in the summer of 2017 I posted my version of British poet A.E. Housman’s classic poem “When I was One and Twenty” published in 1896 in a collection called A Shropshire Lad. Housman, who was born in 1859 and died in 1936 at the age of seventy-seven, had partially funded the publication of A Shropshire Lad following a publisher’s rejection. In today’s jargon, we call that self-publishing. The book has been in continuous print since then so somewhere in London a poetry publisher in the last decade of the nineteenth century cursed himself on a Roman British tablet…or on something equally appropriate for turning down this classic.

When I Was One-and-Twenty

When I was one-and-twenty
       I heard a wise man say,
“Give crowns and pounds and guineas
       But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
       But keep your fancy free.”
But I was one-and-twenty,
       No use to talk to me.
When I was one-and-twenty
       I heard him say again,
“The heart out of the bosom
       Was never given in vain;
’Tis paid with sighs a plenty
       And sold for endless rue.”
And I am two-and-twenty,
       And oh, ’tis true, ’tis true.
When I was One and Twenty
BY Sheila R. Morris

When I was one and twenty, my father said to me,

 “Work hard, be kind to others, the truth will set you free;

a penny saved is a penny earned was his advice to me.”

But I was one and twenty, no use to talk to me.

When I was one and twenty, my father said again,

“Work harder, be smarter, but always be a friend;

love family, serve country, life’s games are played to win.”

And now I’m seven and seventy I hear my father say,

“You did your best, forget the rest, your heart led all the way.”


Tomorrow is my 77th. birthday which I have celebrated with Pretty and our two best friends Nekki and Francie in the south of France for ten remarkable days filled with delicious food, three days at the Masters 1000 Tennis Tournament in Monte Carlo, and a day at the Cannes Films Festival (or “pre-festival” according to Pretty who knows everything about pop culture) where I donated my last American dollars to a casino next to the pink carpet.

The trip was on my short bucket list – a trip made possible through the generosity of our friends whose love and laughter made my bucket overflow with happiness. The time with Pretty is always special – luckily she came home with me but told me she would like to live in Nice for two years (if she could bring her granddaughters and their parents!).    


(l. to r.) Francie, me, Pretty, Nekki – country come to town

Pretty and me at Matisse Museum

Francie and me grateful for bus

after unexpected downpour leaving Matisse Museum

Francie and Nekki on hotel rooftop

Pretty happy with setting, lunch and the polka dot hat

Thanks to our trip photographer Nekki for capturing some of our memory makers.

And thanks to all of you, my readers and followers who have also become my friends, for sharing part of my journey over the past thirteen years. Impossible to imagine that time without you.



Slava Ukraini. For the children.

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in ageism, family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to and now I’m seven and seventy

  1. You are a very lucky girl! Happy, happy, happy birthday 🎈 xAx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. scauburn79 says:

    Happy birthday, friend!!!  Hope the year ahead is filled with joy, laughter, nd good health!  Hope to get together aga

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love your poem and all the photos. Happy, happy birthday Sheila 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wayside Artist says:

    Happy Birthday dear friend! What a great celebration for all of you. All the best throughout your birthday year!! 🥳

    Liked by 1 person

  5. M.B. Henry says:

    Happy birthday!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. cindy knoke says:

    How wonderful! Happy Birthday & Many, Many More!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rebekahrox says:

    How wonderful, Sheila! wise words and Happy Birthday! (belated)

    Liked by 1 person

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