When You Are Old

Topics: Love, Ezra Pound, William Butler Yeats Pages: 2 (839 words) Published: December 1, 2010
William Butler Yeats “When You Are Old” is a tribute to deeper love, an obvious interpretation of a poem that contains the word “love” five times in twelve lines. However, it is specifically the speaker’s personal analysis of what he imagines “love” to entail. It represents an elderly woman reminiscing of her younger days. A past lover whispers to her as she looks through a photo album. This is a very somber, regretful and resigned poem. It has a quiet, dreamlike feeling to it. And uses uncomplicated words that are nevertheless powerful. The theme is the painful one of deep love, which Yeats manipulates in an interesting manner. Instead of focusing upon the present or the past, as is usually the case with this often used theme, Yeats looks to the future, a future in which the two people in the poem are destined to be forever apart. Basically, Yeats is showing that as the woman gets older, she is alone, but she does not have to be lonely. He is shows that thought she is old and she will always have her memories for companionship.“When you are old and grey and full of sleep and nodding by the fire” (1). Depicts the woman in her age, needing to nap more frequently and tend to get lazy. The poet is tries to emphasize the characteristics of elder women as they hit a certain age.

“And nodding by the fire, take down this book, and slowly read” (2).Yeats speaks about a book that may contain old memories or images from the past. As we tend to get old we often look back at images and things that may flash our memories. This book signifies a photo album that contains pictures of her as young adult. “Dream of the soft look your eyes had once, and their shadow deeps” (3). The following stanza intends to record the delights of her beauty and presence; these are features to be celebrated throughout history and he knows the importance of sharing them with others. Some readers may think he's speaking of some darkness underneath the eyes very possibly. The reader can assume...
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