birthday cup cakes with candles

To the Memory of Mrs Lefroy who Died Dec:r 16 – My Birthday

Jane Austen is best known for her novels, but she was also an accomplished poet. In this poem, she commemorates her friend Anne Lefroy who died on Jane’s own birthday.

To the Memory of Mrs Lefroy who Died Dec:r 16 – My Birthday

The day returns again, my natal day;
What mix’d emotions with the Thought arise!
Beloved friend, four years have pass’d away
Since thou wert snatch’d forever from our eyes. –

The day, commemorative of my birth
Bestowing Life and Light and Hope on me,
Brings back the hour which was thy last on Earth.
Oh! bitter pang of torturing Memory! –

Angelic Woman! past my power to praise
In Language meet, thy Talents, Temper, mind.
Thy solid Worth, they captivating Grace! –
Thou friend and ornament of Humankind! –

Now it’s your turn. Why not use the comment area below to share your own birthday ode? Who might you pen a birthday poem for? Perhaps like Jane Austen, you’ll reflect on something else that happened on your own natal day. You could also use this as a chance to reflect on the first day in this world of someone you love, a beloved child or pet perhaps!

What do you think of birthdays? Do you celebrate or tend to forget? Do others celebrate with you, or do you share them alone with only your thoughts and memories for company? Is a birthday the start of something new, a new beginning or the reminder of all that has gone before?

(Image by C B from Pixabay)



    I’ve been lied to all of my life. I have been told (and believed) that I was born on a Wednesday. As we all know, Wednesday’s child is full of woe. For half a century I wondered why Mam couldn’t have held on just a bit longer so I could have a legitimate excuse for my itchy feet. I’ve always felt more like a Thursday’s child.

    But the thing is: it’s not true!

    I have not been pre-destined from my early entry – I wasn’t due until the Saturday – to live a life of struggle and complaint. My boss always used to ask me why I made my life so much harder for myself than it need be. What choice to I have?, my subconscious raged as I held myself to the higher standard, that I wanted everyone else to meet. It is my destiny.

    One way or the other.

    I arrived early – of course I did! – but if I’d been on schedule, I would still have had to contend with the hard-working bit, and my Saturday ghost held me to it.

    But now I know the truth. I checked. And double-checked.

    A Monday child. Fair of face.

    Now how would that have changed my life, if I’d been told that from the age of three? What might I have achieved, if for all those years I had believed that I was beautiful, rather than miserable? Only recently have I begun to be happy with how I look. Not overjoyed, I hasten to add, but I figure I’m wearing reasonably well. If I had had the self-confidence of thinking I looked “great” all my life, what other insecurities might have faded into obscurity?

    And then I look at the words again: fair of face. Nothing in there says that it has anything to do with looks, maybe it’s about a deeper beauty, a difference kind of fairness? Maybe being ‘fair of face’ has something to do with the face being fair, as in open and honest and even-handed in its dealing with the world. Maybe I have been that all along.

    Maybe our true fate walks quietly just ahead of us, waiting for us to catch up.

    And maybe I can thank Mam for not waiting after all.


  2. All Our Yesterdays

    Another year has just gone by – and you’d be ninety seven
    if you had not already left to take your place in Heaven.
    I know I still have keepsakes, but there’s nothing I could find
    to trump the special memories that you left in my mind.

    Your patience, care and modesty and putting others first;
    forbearance with a thoughtless brood when we were at our worst.
    The stories that you read to us, the endless meals you cooked
    just some of many things you did so often overlooked.

    When your soul mate went too soon, you took it with such grace
    yet still, like Atlas, held us up within a fond embrace.
    For fifteen years you lived alone but bolstered by belief
    you never moaned about your fortune or succumbed to grief.

    As your tide was going out, that Celtic DNA
    faced down the shadows lengthening and still took on each day
    to show in ev’ry trial you faced that when push came to shove
    you were still our lodestar; a beacon filled with love.

    Yes memories are presents now – you gave me more than most,
    at this nostalgia party mum, please let me be the host.
    You’re always in my heart and soul – however far I roam
    as I have all our yesterdays, I’ll never walk alone.

    1. What a beautiful way to express the love a mother has for her children, from her child. It reminds me of my Mum and I wanted to thank you deeply for that.

  3. Thank you for the prompt Linda – it was very timely, and I’m glad the piece struck a chord with you.🙂

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