When You Are Old
by William Butler Yeats
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.
*Dedicated to a dear friend of mine met too late in life for either of us to pursue a relationship, yet over the years has become someone I love just as deeply and chastely as is possible. We share a love of good books, in particular Charles Dickens, and I once sent her an edition of A Christmas Carol. Over the holidays I saw in her Christmas photos that the book was on her living room table among all the decorations and a part of me smiled. I am sacramentally bound and am devoted to my family. There is no other place I wish to be just as she is. In life there are those souls to whom we simply connect on a deeper level than others. I am perhaps on overly-sentimental fool in this regard. Or hopelessly naive. Some will likely think this unseemly of me. Let them.
I’ve denied myself many things in this life. I’ve never denied my humanity.
All I know for sure is that words contain immutable powers. Among these powers is the ability to unite two souls across space and time in “moments of glad grace.”
Would that the world contained more of such moments.