August 19, 2004

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)

Source:'s Great Literature Online The Oxford Book of English Verse: 12501900, When You Are Old

This entry is dedicated to my Sweet , Beautiful, and Wondrous Bride, Carol, as she celebrates her "thirty-second" birthday today. She has this Yeats poem posted on her PC monitor at home. I am joyous and grateful we share our lives together. Happy, Happy Birthday, my Sweet Bride.

Posted by niganit at August 19, 2004 9:11 AM
More like this: Poetry


Hi Rich,

I love this poem writing about the love that lasts throughout the years. This poem though reminds me of my secret dream of how I would like to spend the waning years of my life. I have dreamed of a log cabin, with a roaring fire. Sitting with an old friend (favorite book), a hot cup of tea, my German Shepard lying beside on the floor. I look out the picture window, seeing the snow fall. Huge pancake flakes, but I have no worries. My freezer is full, the pantry stocked. My wife in the kitchen, with something cooking. My life would be complete.

Posted by: Rich Williams at August 25, 2004 10:33 AM

I first read this poem when I was seventeen years old in a Speech and Drama class. It was the only poem I remembered throughout the years and now, many years later, I have a greater appreciation for it. Everyone should experience this type of love, and at age seventeen, I thought everyone did. Time has taught me otherwise.

Posted by: Doreen Smith at April 15, 2007 3:32 AM

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