April is National Poetry Month, and while I don’t make a habit of following all the “National Day of…” months, this one caught my eye, and so I did a little searching, and lo and behold, there are plenty of poems about aging. A few of them I recognize. And there are many more that are less known, but definitely worth a look.
This is one of my favorites:
When You are Old
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.
Recognize it? Written by W. B. Yeats, the well-known poet of the 19th and 20th centuries, some say it paints aging in a morose light. Perhaps.
For me, the lyrical quality is what I find so appealing. It makes me want to read it over and over. And in reading it I begin to see the beauty and the hope that love is out in those stars, waiting.
There are many more poems about aging on the website poets.org, and it is a real treat to slow down and peruse them. I’ve done so more than once since I discovered the site. Have a look, and let us know if you have one you want to share.