Lost Poetry Quotations
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When you are old and beautiful
Posted by: DeeBug (169.226.8.---)
Date: May 06, 2004 12:56PM

I'm looking for a poem I read in my 10th grade English class (1969). It was not by a famous poet. I don't know the name of the poet who wrote the poem. It was in a High School English magazine that the class subscribed to. I don't know the name of the magazine (though I really wish I did). I memorized most of the poem and so I can recite some of the verses below. If anyone has heard of this poem, knows the rest of the verses I would very much like to have it. Here it is:

When you are old and beautiful
and things most difficult are done
there will be few who can recall
your face as it is ravaged now
by youth and its oppressive work

Your look will hold their wondering looks
Brave as Cordelia at the last
with neither rancor at the past
nor to upbraid the coming time
For you will be at peace with time

But now a daily warfare
takes its toll of tenderness in you...


Re: When you are old and beautiful
Posted by: marian2 (---.range81-152.btcentralplus.com)
Date: May 07, 2004 03:46AM

Lovely words and interesting theme - I'd like to know the rest of it, too. Hope you find it - if you do please post it.


Re: When you are old and beautiful
Posted by: JerushaDahm (74.38.22.---)
Date: October 13, 2010 04:58PM

Adrienne Rich wrote it. The title is "At Majority".


Re: When you are old and beautiful
Posted by: JerushaDahm (74.38.22.---)
Date: October 13, 2010 05:21PM

Here is the poem entire (I think).

When you are old and beautiful
And things most difficult are done
There will be few who can recall
Your face as it is ravaged now
By youth and its oppressive work

Your look will hold their wondering looks
Brave as Cordelia at the last
With neither rancor at the past
Nor to upbraid the coming time
For you will be at peace with time

But now a daily warfare
Takes its toll of tenderness in you
And you must live like captains who
Wait out the hour before the charge-
Fearful, and yet impatient too.

Yet someday this will have an end
All choices made or choice resigned,
And in your face the literal eye
Trace little of your history,
Nor ever piece the tale entire

Of villages that had to burn
And playthings of the will destroyed
Before you could be safe from time
And gather in your brow and air
The stillness of antiquity.




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