‘Mr. Flood’s Party’ by Edwin Arlington Robinson describes a man’s later years in life and how lonely he has become. It suggests that a long life is not always a blessing.
Mr. Flood's age and his continual aging is a critical part of the poem.
Old Eben Flood, climbing alone one night
Over the hill between the town below
And the forsaken upland hermitage
That held as much as he should ever know
‘The Barefoot Boy’ by John Greenleaf Whittier is a highly relatable poem that speaks on universal themes of aging and the beauty and joy of youth. The poem celebrates a young boy’s freedom and mourns the coming of age.
Aging is one of the most important themes at work in this poem. The speaker is a grown man, and they spend the poem talking about how much they miss being young and appreciate the free life the young boy is experiencing.
Blessings on thee, little man,
Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan!
With thy turned-up pantaloons,
And thy merry whistled tunes;
‘The light of a candle’ by Yosa Buson captures a moment of beauty and symbolism in the everyday act of lighting a candle.
The passing of the light from one candle to another in the poem could be interpreted as a metaphor for the passage of time and the aging process. As we age, we pass our knowledge and experiences onto others, much like the candle's flame. The poem suggests that the light we pass on will continue to shine even after we are gone.
The light of a candle
is transferred to another candle—
‘Archaic Torso of Apollo’ by Rainer Maria Rilke details the remaining beauty and power of a damage sculpture missing its head and legs.
The "archaic torso" in the poem is described as being "like a star" that has begun to fade. This imagery suggests the theme of aging and the inevitability of decay, which Rilke explores in many of his poems. However, the poem also suggests that even in its decay, the sculpture retains a powerful beauty and presence.
We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,
‘Jenny Kiss’d Me’ by Leigh Hunt is a powerful declaration of happiness in the face of the passage of time. A great deal of joy can be found in a single happy memory, the speaker suggests.
Aging is certainly one of the most important themes in this poem. The poet indicates that the speaker is getting older and that time is taking things away from him. But it can't take the kiss that Jenny gave him.
Jenny kiss’d me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in!
‘Somebody’s Mother’ by Mary Dow Brine is a heartbreaking and heartwarming poem about caring for strangers.
As one ages, this poem suggests, they need more help from those around them. Sometimes, those people are strangers, the speaker indicates. The elderly woman didn't have her own son there to help her, so someone else's had to.
The woman was old and ragged and gray
And bent with the chill of the Winter's day.
The street was wet with a recent snow
And the woman's feet were aged and slow.
‘The Idea of Ancestry’ by Etheridge Knight is concerned with family relationships and how important being with those you’re related to is.
Knight has learned a great deal about himself and others as he's aged.
Taped to the wall of my cell are 47 pictures: 47 black
faces: my father, mother, grandmothers (1 dead), grand-
fathers (both dead), brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts,
cousins (1st and 2nd), nieces, and nephews. They stare
‘The Minuet’ by Mary Mapes Dodge alludes to the many changes that the passage of time presents. This is specially related to the way that one speaker’s grandmother has changed.
Aging, or the passage of time, is this poem's most important theme. The speaker alludes to how much time has passed since their grandmother was young and danced the minuet.
Grandma told me all about it,
Told me so I couldn’t doubt it,
How she danced—my Grandma danced!—
‘The Things that Are More Excellent’ by William Watson is a highly relatable poem that reminds readers to value the truly “excellent” things in life. One should not waste time on societal norms or acquiring material possessions.
One of the main themes of this poem is aging. The poet emphasizes the fact that time is limited, and one should have a thorough understanding of what is really worth caring about in life.
As we wax older on this earth,
Till many a toy that charmed us seems
Emptied of beauty, stripped of worth,
And mean as dust and dead as dreams—
‘The Hermit’ by Alan Paton suggests that it is impossible to find peace by locking out the pain, hunger, and emotions of others. Justice and peace are only possible through human connection and compromise.
The hermit in this poem is an old man, and he is tired of helping others. However, despite his old age and weariness, he cannot find peace as long as he tries to hide from the world. Locking his doors and refusing to connect with other people just fill his older years with more fear, guilt, and bitterness.
I have barred the doors
Of the place where I bide,
I am old and afraid
Of the world outside.