Some people forget that love is
tucking you in and kissing you
no matter how young or old you are
Some people don't remember that
listening and laughing and asking
no matter what your age
Few recognize that love is
no fun at all
You and me
Roses, rooted warm in earth,
Bud in rhyme, another age;
Lilies know a ghostly birth
Strewn along a patterned page;
Golden lad and chimbley sweep
Die; and so their song shall keep.
Wind that in Arcadia starts
In and out a couplet plays;
And the drums of bitter hearts
Beat the measure of a phrase.
Sweets and woes but come to print
Quae cum ita sint.
Henry David Thoreau
Here lies the body of this world,
Whose soul alas to hell is hurled.
This golden youth long since was past,
Its silver manhood went as fast,
An iron age drew on at last;
'Tis vain its character to tell,
The several fates which it befell,
What year it died, when 'twill arise,
We only know that here it lies.
I SEE in you the estuary that enlarges and spreads itself grandly as it pours in the great
And middle age ends
The day your descendents
Outnumber your friends.
HOW they are provided for upon the earth, (appearing at intervals;)
How dear and dreadful they are to the earth;
How they inure to themselves as much as to any—What a paradox appears their age;
How people respond to them, yet know them not;
How there is something relentless in their fate, all times;
How all times mischoose the objects of their adulation and reward,
And how the same inexorable price must still be paid for the same great purchase.
There are no lies
in the morning
no cheating of age
an illusion of eye
smoothing skin over bone.
No portrait hidden away
and demanding release.
Another day to face,
my confessor, so laugh
at this charting of years.
Constantine P Cavafy
He's an old man.
Used up and bent,
crippled by time and indulgence,
he slowly walks along the narrow street.
But when he goes inside his house to hide
the shambles of his old age, his mind turns
to the share in youth that still belongs to him.
His verse is now recited by young men.
His visions come before their lively eyes.
Their healthy sensual minds,
their shapely taut bodies
stir to his perception of the beautiful.
by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard
William Butler Yeats
God guard me from those thoughts men think
In the mind alone;
He that sings a lasting song
Thinks in a marrow-bone;
From all that makes a wise old man
That can be praised of all;
O what am I that I should not seem
For the song's sake a fool?
I pray -- for word is out
And prayer comes round again --
That I may seem, though I die old,
A foolish, passionate man.
Sir Walter Raleigh
Even such is time, which takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, and all we have,
And pays us but with age and dust,
Who in the dark and silent grave
When we have wandered all our ways
Shuts up the story of our days,
And from which earth, and grave, and dust
The Lord will raise me up, I trust.
New eyes each year
Find old books here,
And new books,too,
Old eyes renew;
So youth and age
Like ink and page
In this house join,
Minting new coin.
To wash and rinse our souls of their age-old sorrows,
We drained a hundred jugs of wine.
A splendid night it was .
In the clear moonlight we were loath to go to bed,
But at last drunkenness overtook us;
And we laid ourselves down on the empty mountain,
The earth for pillow, and the great heaven for coverlet.
It went many years,
But at last came a knock,
And I though of the door
With no lock to lock.
I blew out the light,
I tip-toed the floor,
And raised both hands
In prayer to the door.
But the knock came again.
My window was wide;
I climbed on the sill
And descended outside.
Back over the sill
I bade a 'Come in'
To whatever the knock
At the door may have been.
So at a knock
I emptied my cage
To hide in the world
And alter with age.
Edgar Lee Masters
In youth my wings were strong and tireless,
But I did not know the mountains.
In age I knew the mountains
But my weary wings could not follow my vision --
Genius is wisdom and youth.
My heart in middle age found the Way.
And I came to dwell at the foot of this mountain.
When the spirit moves, I wander alone
Amid beauty that is all for me.
I will walk till the water checks my path,
Then sit and watch the rising clouds --
And some day meet an old wood-cutter
And talk and laugh and never return.
This one is entering her teens,
Ripe for sentimental scenes,
Has picked a gangling unripe male,
Sees herself in bridal veil,
Presses lips and tosses head,
Declares she's not too young to wed,
Informs you pertly you forget
Romeo and Juliet.
Do not argue, do not shout;
Remind her how that one turned out.
Friedrich von Schiller
We speak with the lip, and we dream in the soul,
Of some better and fairer day;
And our days, the meanwhile, to that golden goal
Are gliding and sliding away.
Now the world becomes old, now again it is young,
But "The better" 's forever the word on the tongue.
At the threshold of life hope leads us in--
Hope plays round the mirthful boy;
Though the best of its charms may with youth begin,
Yet for age it reserves its toy.
sway with me, everything sad --
madmen in stone houses
lepers steaming love and song
frogs trying to figure
sway with me, sad things --
fingers split on a forge
old age like breakfast shell
used books, used people
used flowers, used love
I need you
I need you
I need you:
it has run away
like a horse or a dog,
dead or lost
The stars, who dwell on heaven's exalted stage,
Baffle the wise diviners of our age;
Take heed, hold fast the rope of mother wit.
These augurs all distrust their own presage.
In a lonely place,
I encountered a sage
Who sat, all still,
Regarding a newspaper.
He accosted me:
"Sir, what is this?"
Then I saw that I was greater,
Aye, greater than this sage.
I answered him at once,
"Old, old man, it is the wisdom of the age.
The sage looked upon me with admiration.
William Butler Yeats
Ah, that Time could touch a form
That could show what Homer's age
Bred to be a hero's wage.
'Were not all her life but storm
Would not painters paint a form
Of such noble lines,' I said,
'Such a delicate high head,
All that sternness amid charm,
All that sweetness amid strength?'
Ah, but peace that comes at length,
Came when Time had touched her form.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
SHINES the last age the next with hope is seen
To-day slinks poorly off unmarked between:
Future or Past no richer secret folds
O friendless Present! than thy bosom holds.
"Little child of my five senses
and of my tenderness.
Let us cradle our loves,
We will have good children.
Well cared for,
We will fear nothing on earth,
Happiness, good fortune, prudence,
And this leap from age to age,
From the order of a child to that of an old man,
Will not diminish us.
A message came from my youth of vanished days, saying, " I wait for
you among the quivering of unborn May, where smiles ripen for tears
and hours ache with songs unsung.
It says, "Come to me across the worn-out track of age, through
the gates of death.
For dreams fade, hopes fail, the fathered
fruits of the year decay, but I am the eternal truth, and you shall
meet me again and again in your voyage of life from shore to
R S Thomas
She is young.
Have I the right
Even to name her? Child,
It is not love I offer
Your quick limbs, your eyes;
Only the barren homage
Of an old man whom time
Take my hand
A moment in the dance,
Ignoring its sly pressure,
The dry rut of age,
And lead me under the boughs
Let me smell
My youth again in your hair.