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Poems about old age
送交者: jingchen 2019年08月14日07:11:01 于 [美国移民] 发送悄悄话

Poems about old ages

As I get older and older, I receive more and more poems about old ages. It seems all these good poems about old age are written by young people. Let’s look at one popular poem by 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.

It was published in 1893, when Yeats was 28 years old. It must have been written when he was even younger. Would Yeats really feel the way described in the poem when the lady actually became old? Unlikely. He can say anything when he is young. There is no obligation to the long term future. That is why he can say such a beautiful thing. Today old men and women copy his words, as if old people talk to each other. No, it wasn’t. It was a young man’s imagination.

Recently, I read Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas. 

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieve it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

It was written by another young man about his father and other dying men. Old men wish they could rage, rage like young men. But they have to worry about stroke, heart attack and other fatal consequences from rage. They have to be happy and calm. Rage is a privilege reserved for the young.

It is great to be young. Even great poems about the old age are written by the young. However, nobody stays young forever.




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