Poems about Aging

In poems about aging, readers will find various depictions of the aging process and what it means to come to terms with the fact that everyone’s time on the planet is limited. Depending on the poet, some of these poems are far more optimistic than others, describing old age as something worth looking forward to.

Sonnet 138 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 138,’ also known as ‘When my love swears that she is made of truth,’ is a poem about the lies at the heart of a relationship. It depicts the necessity of two lovers misleading one another. 

Sonnet 123 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 123,’ also known as ‘No, Time, thou shalt not boast that I do change,’ is a poem about time and change. The speaker asserts that time isn’t going to change him as it does others. 

XII: An Epitaph by A.E. Housman

In Housman’s ‘XII: An Epitaph,’ readers will hear from a speaker who knows he’s about to die and is happy to accept his fate. 

Loveliest of Trees by A. E. Housman

‘Loveliest of Trees’ by A.E. Housman is a joyful nature poem in which the speaker describes how powerful the image of cherry blossom trees is in his life. He takes a great deal of pleasure from looking at them.

When I Was One-and-Twenty by A. E. Housman

‘When I Was One-and-Twenty’ by A. E. Housman is a relatable poem that explores how easy it is to make mistakes in one’s love life, even when one knows exactly what they should do.

Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne

‘Now We Are Six’ by A. A. Milne is a funny poem. The young speaker talks about what life was like when they were younger than they are now.

Dreamwood by Adrienne Rich

‘Dreamwood’ by Adrienne Rich jumps between the incredible imagination of a child to the wiser outlook of an older woman.

Amaze by Adelaide Crapsey

‘Amaze’ by Adelaide Crapsey explores the poet’s hands and the emotions she experiences when she looks at them she sees her mother’s.

Courage by Anne Sexton

‘Courage’ by Anne Sexton conveys the different ways in which a person can show courage, ranging from the seemingly insignificant to the much more heroic.

My Heart Leaps Up by William Wordsworth

On the surface, William Wordsworth’s ‘My Heart Leaps Up’ is about the simple beauty of a rainbow. Looking at it more closely, the poet is saying people should maintain their sense of childlike wonder well into adulthood and old age.

All the world’s a stage by William Shakespeare

‘All the world’s a stage’ is a well-known monologue found in William Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’. This speech of Jaques explores the seven ages of man and their implications.

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