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The Passing Years

by Zettel 

Posted: 16 January 2007
Word Count: 127
Summary: Prompted by the crass treatment of a touching story in the local newspaper


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The Passing Years

The years pass
and he is now
just one illness
away from being old
yet passion lives
desire abides
that stirs
elusive memory

She was his
one last time
love and lover
just once more
the thrill
of racing blood
the aching heart
of revisited desire

Passionate ideas and love
escaped her urgent lips
the hopes of youth
unchecked unstilled
by lifeís cold hand
enchanted his soul
undimmed by time
unmanned by love

If love is but
a doomed attempt
to fix in time
the necessarily
impermanent
then grasp it now
when its allure
Is immanent

The unrestrained
heart of youth still
beat within his breast
one last time
he was in love
not merely loved
nor foolish or absurd
in love again...with life







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Comments by other Members



James Graham at 19:04 on 18 January 2007  Report this post
Though this is a poem about passion, it has an intellectual turn as well, which was the first thing that struck me about it. I see this especially in the second last stanza, which seems to me very true. Loveís not the only attempt we make Ďto fix in time the necessarily impermanentí but itís perhaps the most central to our being. The stanza is also saying that in full awareness of the transience of love, and indeed everything else, we should nevertheless grasp it wholeheartedly while it is immanent. Iím sure this thought has been expressed before in one form or another, but itís a wise thought all the same. The main body of the poem is about experience - that of an older man who rediscovers a former passion - but thereís that philosophical relish that adds a new level of meaning, and strengthens the poem, I think. This is a philosopher in love!

James.


<Added>

I don't know what the crass newspaper story was, but your version is certainly touching, and must surely have removed all crassness.

Zettel at 21:37 on 18 January 2007  Report this post
James

As ever , thanks for the comments ( and for your efforts on the best of 2006 by the way). The story was of a near retirement Headteacher who fell in love with a younger member of staff. Properm propieties in school were apparently observed but the affair became public and created a fuss for all the wrong reasons. Stereotypical responses had him invitably as a 'dirty old man'; what appeared to be a genuinely loving relationship was seen for some obscure reason to be a threat to the children. The younger (in her 30's) teacher's protestations that she had entered the relationship willingly and openly were ignored in the prurience of the reporting. The philosphical element as you may imagine, I added as it seemed to me to be relevant. It just seemed that two people in love should not be mocked or pilloried simply because there was a difference in their ages. They are apparently committed to one another and have moved away to find a anonymity that should have been respected in the first place - it seems to me.

regards

Z

joanie at 22:27 on 18 January 2007  Report this post
Zettel, I am pleased that I didn't comment earlier because I now know the story here.

However, the words which shouted at me when I first read, and which still do, are
he is now
just one illness
away from being old

....perhaps it's my age!!

'then grasp it now' - brilliant!!

This is really poignant; I love the sentiments.

joanie

DJC at 06:26 on 19 January 2007  Report this post
Hi Zettel

I like the way you lineate this poem as it forces you to pause with each line and take it all in. There are some thought provoking lines here as well: the idea of 'one illness / away from being old' is a good way of putting it.

For me, I want to feel more concrete images. A lot of it is quite philosophical as James said, but I don't get a real feel of a person or people here. If, as you say, the poem is inspired by an article about an older man falling in love with a much younger woman, I want to get a feel for that, which I don't quite. I think this needs to be rooted more in the concrete, and then you can allow your ideas to flow from these images. You have a superb idea here for a poem, it just needs to be more grounded.

Darren

Zettel at 22:55 on 19 January 2007  Report this post
Joannie

Thanks for the comments. I have been struck by the way that illness can age people so rapidly. Frighteningly so. It strikes me as one definitive event that can almost age someone overnight. That was the source of the line.

Oddly and even more banally, the other thing that can do it, though not quite so dramatically or totally is teeth! I always thought say Paul Newman would be for ever young. And though he still looks better in his 70's than I have ever looked (I hate him...) the film The Victim marked the point at which his voice and speech changed to that of an old man. Scary thing about this is that with all his money, it can't be a correctable problem. However I'll stop there before I depress myself. Glad you liked the poem.

Darren. I can see what you are getting at. James has made a somewhat similar remark in the past. I can see how to do what you suggest would work. It just wouldn't then be the poem I wanted. I am attracted to what one might call the poetry of ideas though I like the concrete as well. After all though in an obvious sense passion is expressed through the body, it arguably begins in the mind. Though much of our culture denies that as it equates passion with sexuality, and reduces sexuality to the purely physical. But that's a bigger topic for another time and perhaps another poem.

Thanks for taking to the trouble to read and respond.

regards

Zettel


Tina at 05:58 on 20 January 2007  Report this post
Zettel

Reading this in the early morning made me stop and read it several times before I read any comments which often are detractors from initial thought before we/I/one posts.

There are striking images here but it is the tone of the poem which strikes me most. Some of the lines are, I think, very beautiful and some whole stanzas almost perfext for me. Like Joanie, I liked:

just one illness
away from being old


and this stanza for its musical quality:

If love is but
a doomed attempt
to fix in time
the necessarily
impermanent
then grasp it now
when its allure
Is immanent


The whole poem has a sweet poignancy and one feels like a voyeur when reading it. One small point I wonder if you title is 'big' enough for this poem - it seems to undersell it to me?

Very lovely
Thanks
Tina


Zettel at 21:29 on 21 January 2007  Report this post
Tina

I guess when one posts a poem it is the sesne of recognition, of shared experience or sensibility, that satisfies most. Far more than approval - though that's nice too. Thanks so much for your comments therefore.

The title sort of picked itself so I settle for underselling!

regards

Zettel


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