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Short poem

David Herbert Lawrence (1885-1930)

Beautiful Old Age

              1It ought to be lovely to be old
              2to be full of the peace that comes of experience
              3and wrinkled ripe fulfilment.

              4The wrinkled smile of completeness that follows a life
              5lived undaunted and unsoured with accepted lies.
              6If people lived without accepting lies
              7they would ripen like apples, and be scented like pippins
              8in their old age.

              9Soothing, old people should be, like apples
            10when one is tired of love.
            11Fragrant like yellowing leaves, and dim with the soft
            12stillness and satisfaction of autumn.

            13And a girl should say:
            14It must be wonderful to live and grow old.
            15Look at my mother, how rich and still she is! --

            16And a young man should think: By Jove
            17my father has faced all weathers, but it's been a life! --


7] pippins: yellow apples.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: D. H. Lawrence, Pansies: Poems (London: Martin Secker, 1929): 93-94. PR 6023 A93P3 1929 Robarts Library
First publication date: 1929
Publication date note: see Roberts A47
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 2000.
Recent editing: 4:2001/12/28

Composition date note: by Dec. 2, 1928 (Ellis, 587)
Form: free verse

Other poems by David Herbert Lawrence