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When you are old (by Yeats for workshop)

When you are old

written by W.B. 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.

Rewrite ...

When you are old, grey and full of sleep,
nodding by the fire, take down this book
and slowly read, dream of the soft look
your eyes held once, their shadows deep;

how many loved your moments of glad grace,
your beauty, whether they were false or true,
I was the man that loved the pilgrim soul in you,
and the line filled sorrows in your changing face.

While bending down beside the glowing bars,
I wonder, if you'll murmur, sadly, how love fled,
paced for years upon the mountains overhead,
hiding my face amid the crowd of lonely stars.

Editing stage: 
Workshop: 

Comments

I'm not cutting these guys any slack, it doesn't matter to
me how famous they were or how long they've been gone.
I'm not very fond of love poems to begin with, and this one
is a bit on the cheesy side for my tastes, but here goes;

Mr. Yeats, there are too many "and's" in the first stanza,
I realize you are trying to keep meter but it seems to be a
cheap way of getting there. Same thing in the second stanza
only with the word "loved".

The final stanza, hmmm, now we get to where she has either
turned your attentions away or simply said no, but you still love
her from afar, sad when one thinks about it but I really feel this
poem could have been haunting with the content, but as it is, it
doesn't have that effect, on me.

author comment

Your opinion is always welcome, and appreciated !!!

author comment

have been great if he had found a way to keep the meter, without using so many repetitions of the connecting words. Her also uses terms that I feel he just made up to keep the rhyme. What glowing bars, is he bending down beside? The line makes no sense. ~ Gee

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I assumed it was an electric fire of the old-fashioned, 2-bar type?

Ian

TIME FLIES LIKE AN ARROW, BUT FRUIT FLIES LIKE A BANANA

For my tastes, the first stanza would read like this:

When you are old and grey, full of sleep
Nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read dreaming soft the look
Her eyes once had, your shadows deep;

But then that's just me, and I can't sing.

~A

I love the poem! :D

Ok, now to be more critical, I must be honest I didn't notice the many 'and's in the first stanza till they were pointed out. In some of my poetry, I usually cut down the connecting words when I feel they are uncomfortably too many.

That the poem seems forced, I had a slight hint of it, but I easily forgave that. As a great poet, I feel he chose to sacrifice a bit of the "quality" of his work to get the message out - just the way he wanted it to come out. Don't we all wish that we could say certain things in certain way sometimes?

I see this poem in a spiritual light.

"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."

The last stanza especially, where the stars may have some sort of divine connection with the love. I honestly didn't read it as a love poem. Knowing a little about Yeats' spiritual background, this was the likely ground I was going to tread.

No verse is free for the man who wants to do a good job. - TS Eliot

http://www.wsgeorge.com/

Thanks

loved

gracious loved

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Directors

error

loved

Yeats was an incredibly spiritual man and though this is not the traditional analysis of this particular poem, I see him speaking to the old woman as she drifts toward death of Christ. Yeats would not have suggested Christ specifically as he was not Christian, but gave a sense of the many different forms that Christ has taken through innumerable religions in other works as well.
I look to "the book" and the "hidden face". The only man who loved her in all of her incarnations even when she rejected him.
As for the meter, I suspect its repeating characteristics was an attempt to create a lulling feel as the old woman sat by the fire "nodding" which I see as a metaphor of impending death.
I liked the poem, but I would not list it in my top 100.
wesley

W. H. Snow

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. Percy Bysshe Shelley

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.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Directors

And there we have it, the last word about any poem or poet is what we take away from it AND if it corresponds to our tastes.

Again, the mediocrity of any poem is by that particular poet's range. Imo nothing of Yeats work
is superior to his The Hollow Men. And that is purely subjective.

~A

it was not a comment per se.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Directors

in the wrong place. It was not a comment.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Directors

What we see in a poem is what we desire to see. If it is there, we like the poem. If not we will tend to pass on it as inferior when all it really is... is not our cup of tea. A bad poem is of course a bad poem regardless, but I have read many wonderful poems that I did not like because they did not conform to my perspective on what good poetry is.
wesley

W. H. Snow

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. Percy Bysshe Shelley

Learn how, teach others.
The NeoPoet Mentor Program
http://www.neopoet.com/mentor/about

I totally agree with you. Some aspects of a poem's worth are beyond us. Others are within our own subjectivity.
When a poem fails to deliver what we expect from it, it fails for us.

Then again, some are just not good enough. I'v struggled to get a similar message across to many poets that I meet here. Most are of the opinion that "every poem is good so far as the poet thinks so", an unhealthy opinion, I should say, as it shuts the door on criticism.

No verse is free for the man who wants to do a good job. - TS Eliot

http://www.wsgeorge.com/

I don't know, I just think that he might have used a little more symbolism or just not been soooo up front. I didn't feel "full" after reading this poem, like it was "empty" or somthing.

oi fuck
slag!
I would have shagged you wrinkly,
but you fucked off,
mental!

You slag, you bike,
you fucked me mates and then some
stiil I wouldn't have fucked you off

Now you're just fucked in the head

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Directors

..... Ummm......Ok?... O.o

I was drawn in and was delighted by it.
After the first stanza I lost interest because the meaning became vague and I had to stop and focus on the first line in the second stanza for a steady flow. Too many love in the second stanza and not enough clarity like the first stanza.
The last stanza just did me in completely with love being capitalized because I couldn't get back that happy feeling from the first stanza.

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posted with the original

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Directors

much better without all those connecting "ands". I also liked that you took it from the third-person and put in the first-person. ~ Gee

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