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Beautiful Old Age
D. H. Lawrence


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 and still she is! -

And a young man should think: By Jove
my father has faced all weathers, but it's been a life!

This poem is in the public domain.


David Herbert Lawrence (1885 - 1930) was an English novelist, poet, essayist, critic, playwright, and painter. The son of a miner and a school teacher, Bert (as he was called) grew up in extreme poverty and suffered from poor health. Although he loved to read, he was not a particularly good student. He did, however, manage to win a high school scholarship and became a teacher before success as a writer allowed him to pursue that career fulltime. Accused more than once of spying for the Germans, Bert eventually left his home country to travel the world with his wife. The Lawrences intended to settle in America, but problems with his health forced them to return to Europe; Lawrence died in France at the age of 45. A prolific writer who produced work in multiple genres, Lawrence is best known as a novelist, although he wrote more than 800 poems and was considered an extremely gifted travel writer. Public opinion during his lifetime and even till today paints him as either utterly profane and depraved or as a brilliant and creative genius.







Post New Comment:
Well, who can argue with D. H. L., but there do seem to be a bunch of 'shoulds,' both implied and stated, here. H m m m m. Personally, I prefer 'am' or 'are' to 'should.'
Posted 10/09/2021 02:39 PM
Wilda Morris:
Thank you for sharing this poem. I don't think I have read it before.
Posted 10/09/2021 10:46 AM
Larry Schug:
but for the last line, I' not sure I agree, though I do like "the soft stillness and satisfaction of autumn". The curmudgeon in me says don't tell me how to grow old, I'm going to dance my way to the grave. So there.
Posted 10/09/2021 07:59 AM

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