My favourite WB Yeats poem: Terry Wogan on 'When You are Old'

In honour of William Butler Yeats' 150 birthday, broadcaster Terry Wogan chooses his favourite of the poets works

 
Why Terry Wogan chose this poem
 
As everyone you’ve asked to contribute will say, it’s impossible to pick just one favourite Yeats poem. But this is the one that has always touched my heart: poignant and of increasing relevance as I, and the ones I love, grow old. I recommend a song of the same title, written in tribute by the American songwriter Gretchen Peters. If you have tears to shed . . .
 
Terry Wogan has loved poetry all his life
 

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 upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
 

 

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