A few weeks ago, I posted “Distractions, failures? Yeats had them, too,” about my visit to the National Library of Ireland, and what I learned about William Butler Yeats while I was there.
Today is Yeats’ birthday, so to honor him and spread the joy I’ve had in reading his poetry, I’m sharing one of his poems. This is one of my favorites, both for its theme and for its slow, ethereal beauty.
When You Are Old
When you are old and gray 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 among a crowd of stars.
Reprinted courtesy of poetry-archive.com.
At times, when I’m having difficulty getting the words right or my writing isn’t flowing, poetry helps me break through. It gives me the in. I don’t know if it’s the beauty of the words or the lyrical flow, but it opens up that part of my brain that’s not so uptight and rigid, and it allows me to write.
Do you use poetry this way? Do you have any favorite poems that stir your creativity? Please share them here.
To learn more about William Butler Yeats or read more of his poetry, please visit the Yeats Society.