Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Today's poem by William Butler Yeats

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.


William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
published 1892

Years ago I went into a below ground restaurant that always had a line of people waiting to get a table. On a little ledge beside the stairs there were books that one could read to pass the time. I picked up Yeats' poetry, and came upon this poem.

16 comments:

  1. Such a fitting way to discover this poem of Yeat's, Nan, and all-the-more-so in how you remember the discovery.

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    1. Thanks, Penny. I think he wrote it and I read it at about the same age, but it is just as wonderful all these years later.

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  2. Lovely poem and evocative story of how you came to know it. It sets the mood.

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    1. I remember it so well. The crowd disappeared as I read his words.

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  3. Oh so lovely.

    I also love the idea of this restaurant; just the kind of place I would be drawn too. long lines are a good sign, and books to share? golden.

    Also,

    I hope those branches on your header have some leaf buds by now :-)

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    1. Now people would probably be busy on their phones to pass that time, but I feel lucky to have come upon that poem in a beautiful old book
      Tiny buds only, but it is a sugar maple which is later than many trees.

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  4. Nan- I just saw your comment on my blog and responded there but I didn't want to risk you missing my thank you note. You really shouldn't have shelled out for a copy - you are too good. I hope you liked it, I know friends are put in an impossible position when someone asks them to look at their work... Thanks again for your support over the years.

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    1. Not an impossible position with a book this good! Still haven't finished though. Not such a good reading month.

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  5. Sounds like such a wonderful way to find this poem!!

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  6. Lovely choice, one of my favourites!

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  7. One of my favorites, too. Another one, For Anne Gregory and is lighter in tone is another a favorite. And always, always, The Lake Isle of Innisfree!

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    1. Gladys Tabor had a nice little thought about the beans in Innisfree. I wrote about it here:
      http://lettersfromahillfarm.blogspot.com/2011/08/august-with-gladys-and-rachel.html

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  8. HOw lovely and what a wonderful memory of how you found it. I don't always read blog comments, but I love the conversations you have on yours....you are unfortunately right that people would no doubt be on their phones now as they waited.

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    1. It's the conversations in blogging that I love so much.
      They would be on the phone and we would have to listen!

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