When You Are Old, by W.B. Yeats

BAT EYES photo by Guido Gonzalez.JPG

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.


Easter 1916
William Butler Yeats (13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939) was an Irish poet and one ofthe foremost figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms.

Appearing in 1892, When You Are Old is one of Yeats’s earliest poems. Three years prior to its publication, he met the fiery and beautiful Maud Gonne, and as he famously said ‘the troubles of my life began.’ She was his one love, and yet she was unattainable. He proposed to her countless times, and yet she always turned him down. There always seems to be a ‘yet’ in the discussion of Maud Gonne and W.B. Yeats. (More…)

See below, Bat Eyes (Director: Damien Power; Screenplay: Jessica Bellamy after W.B. Yeats’ When You Are Old).

‘a surprisingly lovely, and yes, poetic look at nostalgia, innocence and regret’ (Short Of The Week)

PicMonkey Collage

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