My greetings on your birthday, I admit are most belated,
but I hope my guilt in this can be expiated.
I toiled to construct a card, wording it in rhyme,
and then invoked winged Mercury to present it in time.
(I’d addressed it with a flourish and signed it in gold ink.
The card was of a purple hue. The envelope was pink.)
But I fear this faithful messenger shows the effects of gout
which has curtailed the usual speed with which he gets about.
He had to take a taxi, which developed a flat.
So then he had to hitchhike to get to where you’re at.
Your doorbell is defective and your neighbor wasn’t in,
and by then I fear that his resolve was growing thin.
He sat upon your doorstep, but it seems you never came.
So it is your own tardiness, it seems, that is to blame.
As the midnight hour approached he finally gave up.
He found a little pub where he thought that he would sup.
He put your card upon the counter. It was there that he misplaced it
along with the good wishes with which this friend had graced it.
By the time he had informed me of his failure at this task,
I fear your day had ended, so what I now must ask
is that you don’t feel slighted by your real card’s surrogate—
the fact that it is Hallmark and the fact that it is late.
This card can’t compete with the first one I created,
but you share the guilt, friend, for the fact that it’s belated!!!