Reflection on "When You Are Old" by W.B. Yeats

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, everyone!

While not Irish, I still get passionate about this saint's holiday and although that might be because it involves a lot of beer drinking, today I want to share with you a bit of Irish culture in the form of W.B. Yeats. 

William Butler Yeats was born in Dublin on June 13th, 1865 and won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1923. He believed poetry came from the magic spells of ancient sorcerers. Here is a poem I enjoy by him, and I hope you find it to be magical and lyrical as well.

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."
Y.B. Yeats wrote this poem for his unrequited love. He is telling her that many people admired her for her beauty, but it will fade. However, he truly loves her because of her "pilgrim soul". 
I love this poem because the phrase "pilgrim soul" is so beautiful. It conjures images of a fearless woman exploring life with curiosity and tenacity. Even though her beauty will fade, it does not matter, because her quality is in her soul. 
Let me know what you think of the poem in the comments, or if you have a favorite poem, please share! 
Tags: Art, Fun Stuff

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Written by Raeha Keller

Late sleeper, tea connoisseur, and artist of Ectogasm.