Today I Learned...
- These poems explore the complexities of aging and reflect on the passage of time.
- They urge us to cherish every moment we have and find joy in the memories we create.
- The poems highlight the wisdom and reflection that come with age, while also acknowledging the challenges that come with growing older.
s we age, we gain a deeper understanding of the world and ourselves. Poetry has long been a medium for exploring the complexities of life, and there are many great poems that speak to the experiences of growing older. Here are three of the best poems about growing older:
William Shakespeare, 'Sonnet 73'
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
Shakespeare's 'Sonnet 73' is a reflection on the passage of time and the inevitability of aging. The poem compares the aging process to the changing of the seasons, with Shakespeare acknowledging that he is past his prime and nearing the end of his life. Yet, even in the face of his own mortality, the narrator finds comfort in the thought of his loved ones and the memories they share.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 'Youth and Age'
Verse, a breeze 'mid blossoms straying,
Where Hope clung feeding, like a bee—
Both were mine! Life went a-maying
With Nature, Hope, and Poesy,
When I was young!
When I was young?—Ah, woful when!
Ah, for the change 'twixt Now and Then!
This breathing house not built with hands,
This body that does me grievous wrong,
O'er aery cliffs and glittering sands
How lightly then it flashed along:
Like those trim skiffs, unknown of yore,
On winding lakes and rivers wide,
That ask no aid of sail or oar,
That fear no spite of wind or tide!
Coleridge's 'Youth and Age' explores the contrast between the vibrancy and passion of youth and the wisdom and reflection of old age. The poem is a meditation on the passage of time and the fleeting nature of life, and it urges us to cherish every moment we have.
Matthew Arnold, 'Growing Old'
What is it to grow old?
Is it to lose the glory of the form,
The lustre of the eye?
Is it for beauty to forego her wreath?
—Yes, but not this alone.
Is it to feel our strength—
Not our bloom only, but our strength—decay?
Is it to feel each limb
Grow stiffer, every function less exact,
Each nerve more weakly strung?
Matthew Arnold's 'Growing Old' is a somber meditation on the loneliness and isolation that often accompany old age. The poem reflects on the passing of time and the loss of loved ones, and it acknowledges the fear and uncertainty that can arise as we face the unknown.
Whether we are facing the inevitability of aging, reflecting on the passage of time, or celebrating the wisdom and experience that come with age, poetry has a way of speaking to us in ways that resonate deeply.