A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Expecting The Impossible

What shall I do with this absurdity —
O heart, O troubled heart — this caricature,
Decrepit age that has been tied to me
As to a dog’s tail?
Never had I more
Excited, passionate, fantastical
Imagination, nor an ear and eye
That more expected the impossible —
No, not in boyhood when with rod and fly,
Or the humbler worm, I climbed Ben Bulben’s back
And had the livelong summer day to spend.

From The Tower by WB Yeats

(Read more about Yeats and his poetry collection The Tower on my daily Turnstone post) 


Ruth said...

It is beautiful, if absurd, the fantastical spirit within an aging body. (Let no one tell us otherwise.)

George said...

With all of the talk about retirement planning and niche communities for older people, all of this talk about not being any older than one feels or looks, I wonder why more people do not come to terms with the indisputable truth nailed down by Yeats in this fine poem. Indeed, aging is as inescapable as a dog's tail, and through the mere force of culture, we are destined to become caricatures in the minds of others, perhaps even in our own minds. And yet, there remains the passionate heart that burns as it did in youth, the restless dreamer who still has dreams unfulfilled, the tireless quester who is still peering into the infinite with an eye and ear that "never . . . more expected the impossible." This, to me, is quintessential absurdity!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Agree with George absolutely. But what I think is hard to come to terms with about old age (at which I am now an expert) is that in my head I don't feel any older - it is only when I begin to move that old age begins to kick in with a vengeance.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks, my friends, for your excellent comments.

I want fervently to live to the full — physically, mentally, spiritually, imaginatively — for as long as I can! But, if and when it's not possible, then hopefully to accept rather than regret or artificially prolong.

A lady who lives near here, whose husband died 18 months ago, now seems to have given up completely. At present she is in a psychiatric hospital. It is so sad.