This is one of my favourite poems, with obvious connections to the theme of ‘beauty’. I’ve been told it’s terribly sad, and I suppose it is. But to me it’s more of a recognition of the impermanence of all things – love, beauty, life – and that is not sad, it’s just real.
I hope you enjoy it.
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.