Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Favorite Poems: A 9th Century Chinese Poem on Old Age

'We are growing old together, you and I;
Let us ask ourselves, what is age like?
The idle head, still uncombed at noon.
Propped on a staff, sometimes a walk abroad;
Or all day sitting with closed doors.

One dares not look in the mirror's polished face;
One cannot read small-letter books.
Deeper and deeper one's love of old friends;
Fewer and fewer one's dealings with young men.
One thing only, the pleasure of idle talk
Is great as ever, when you and I meet.'

A 9th Century Chinese poem on old age, 
sent to Isaiah Berlin by Stephen Spender