Wednesday, 24 August 2011

When you are old

Love literature, pretty much any kind; novels; poetry; plays, will read anything- especially if it's American. I have always liked Yeats and Robert Frost, so here's a good 'un from Willy.

It's quite a simple nostalgic poem, mourning the passing of one's youth when the past is far enough to seem like a dream of someone else's life. The narrator takes the subject back to a time when they were admired for their beauty and grace. However their true self was loved by someone who saw beyond their exterior. An obvious theme in the poem is the transcendent nature of our existence because of course just like her beauty, her love is now gone "his face amid a crowd of stars". Sad yet beautiful.  

When You Are Old
by William Butler Yeats

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

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