June 22, 2009

Growing Old

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May this poem fill your day with inspiring thought.
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--Description: 19th C, Arnold M., Aging, Humanity--


What is it to grow old?
Is it to lose the glory of the form,
The lustre of the eye?
Is it for beauty to forego her wreath?
Yes, but not for this alone.

Is it to feel our strength
Not our bloom only, but our strength decay?
Is it to feel each limb
Grow stiffer, every function less exact,
Each nerve more weakly strung?

Yes, this, and more! but not,
Ah, 'tis not what in youth we dreamed 'twould be!
'Tis not to have our life
Mellowed and softened as with sunset-glow,
A golden day's decline!

'Tis not to see the world
As from a height, with rapt prophetic eyes,
And heart profoundly stirred;
And weep, and feel the fulness of the past,
The years that are no more!

It is to spend long days
And not once feel that we were ever young.
It is to add, immured
In the hot prison of the present, month
To month with weary pain.

It is to suffer this,
And feel but half, and feebly, what we feel:
Deep in our hidden heart
Festers the dull remembrance of a change,
But no emotion none.

It is last stage of all
When we are frozen up within, and quite
The phantom of ourselves,
To hear the world applaud the hollow ghost
Which blamed the living man.

Matthew Arnold


--Did You Know: (24 December 1822 – 15 April 1888) Arnold was an English poet, and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools. Matthew Arnold has been characterized as a sage writer, a type of writer who chastises and instructs the reader on contemporary social issues.

--Word of the Day: tutelary \TOO-tuh-lair-ee; TYOO-\, adjective:
Having the guardianship or charge of protecting a person or a thing; guardian; protecting; as, "tutelary goddesses."
(eg) For the first time in history, a republic welcomed, perhaps even required, the release of the individual from tutelary powers, and in particular from religious authority.
-Diana Schaub, "On the Character of Generation X"

--Quote of the Day: Most men experience getting older with regret, apprehension. But most women experience it even more painfully: with shame. Aging is a man's destiny, something that must happen because he is a human being.
-Susan Sontag

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