The Last Chapter

THE LAST CHAPTER

Old sorrows, brief joys, flare and fade away.
Too late now to recapture or repair.
You dream of passing drowsing in your chair,
Waking reborn to dream another day.

——————————————————————

This was written as an appendix to W.B. Yeats’ poem, “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 among the mountains overhead
And hid his face among a crowd of stars.

About Ben Naga

The Spirit that graces me with its passing has no name and stems not from thoughts and words, though it gathers them up as it flows, but from feeling.

Posted on December 3, 2011, in Poetry, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. a sense of rejuvination of a certain kind….I feel.

    looking up for better days, loss of the past is fading – as is mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. i might be

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What is done, is done. One can’t go back. But dreams continue… for a new life – after death. Lovely little summary of getting near the end of life as we know it, Ben.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Denise. It was written as an appendix to W.B. Yeats’ poem, “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 among the mountains overhead
      And hid his face among a crowd of stars.

      Like

      • Other than our so-called poetry studies which formed part of the English curriculum at school, and most of which I have forgotten, I am totally a novice regarding poetry. I know what I like, but I don’t know much, lol! I would never have dreamt in a thousand years that I would be attempting to write it. This Yeats poem is totally new to me and makes me cry. Thanks for putting it up, Ben. I will have to start a collection in a file, I think.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Irrelevantly, Yeats is an anagram of yeast.

    But then T S Eliot is an anagram of toilets. 😉

    Slightly more relevantly, Yeats’ “When You Are Old” inspired “When I Am Old”

    https://bennaga.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/when-i-am-old/

    Like

  5. Now, this isn’t sad like the Yeats poem. It is a statement/question of fact (in fact it starts off quite comically, and you should explore your comic side more in poetry, it’s such a gift!) but very well done.

    You haven’t responded to my comment on: https://bennaga.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/thought-i-found-someone/
    which I found hilarious and I have been wondering if you were serious?
    Maybe I am reading it incorrectly…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I omitted to comment on “Thought I Found Someone” since I thought your comment spoke for itself and didn’t really require a reply. Whatever, I have now commented. 🙂

      As for “When I Am Old”: it always feels sad to me, even more than normal when I reread it just now. The fact that it starts out in a way that appears to be comic (though it isn’t actually that funny; the laugh comes from the uncomfortable nature of the acquisition of unwanted facial/nasal/aural hair in advancing years, which is why it is normally politely ignored) makes it even more poignant for me, as it continues to list a whole range of infirmities and losses.

      For me, it is a poem about the anxiety of questioning whether you are really loved behind the speech, the body, the mind, and the wonderment of finding out that love of the real you may perhaps be actually present after all.

      Like

      • That is what we all fear, I think. That we will no longer be loved as we become different people from the outside, although inside we remain just the same. Thank you so much. Ben.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Ben! Your poem makes me cling on to Autumn dreading the onset of Winter in one’s life. btw that Yeats poem was a required reading in my high-school literature class and we were made to memorize it. Thanks for posting…perfect for the end of autumn season.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Cynthia. From what I can perceive you will navigate your life’s Autumn and Winter with grace and elegance. 🙂

      Also, I think attempting to add to Yeats’ poem is a terrible act of hubris on my part. 😳

      Like

  7. Short and expressive. I enjoyed this one. A grand description indeed 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Old age and death. A well worn topic, but not exhausted I think. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Like

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