David Herbert Lawrence
Beautiful Old Age
It ought to be lovely to be old
to be full of the peace that comes of experience
and wrinkled ripe fulfilment.
The wrinkled smile of completeness that follows a life
lived undaunted and unsoured with accepted lies
they would ripen like apples, and be scented like pippins
in their old age.
Soothing, old people should be, like apples
when one is tired of love.
Fragrant like yellowing leaves, and dim with the soft
stillness and satisfaction of autumn.
And a girl should say:
It must be wonderful to live and grow old.
Look at my mother, how rich ...
Many years have I still to burn, detained
Like a candle flame on this body; but I enshine
A darkness within me, a presence which sleeps contained
In my flame of living, her soul enfolded in mine.
And through these years, while I burn on the fuel of life,
What matter the stuff I lick up in my living flame,
Seeing I keep in the fire-core, inviolate,
A night where she dreams my dreams for me, ever the same.