Kara Arguello: A last favorite poem entry

When You Are Old
William Butler Yeats

A family friend gave me a book of Irish poetry when I was in my teens.  Yeats quickly became a favorite poet of mine.  I love this poem for its immediate effect of placing the reader in her own future, drowsy by the fire’s warmth, and then looking back; and for its personification of Love and the beautiful images about where he fled.  Although the poem is often interpreted as a rejected lover’s bitter warning, for me it has always reiterated the importance of aspiring to be truly loved –not for one’s beauty, but for one’s “pilgrim Soul.”

Kara Arguello, 34
San Jose

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.

William Butler Yeats

(Note from Poet Laureate: This really is the LAST of the formal submissions to the Santa Clara County’s Favorite Poems Project. Janice Dabney’s submission of “The Blessing” was one good way to end; so too this moving poem by Yeats)



Filed under Favorite Poem

2 responses to “Kara Arguello: A last favorite poem entry

  1. Joanne Gallagher

    I love this poem too. Tjhank you for posting it and helping me to remember it.

  2. Kelly Cressio-Moeller

    Such a wonderful poem – love it. The last line always gets me. Thanks, Kara. And thanks Sally for this super project & the readings that accompanied it.

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