When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
"When You Are Old" - W.B. Yeats
“The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd - The longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else; dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are.”
"The Book of Disquiet" - Fernando Pessoa
The rain is haunted;
I had forgotten.
My children are two hours abed
And yet I rise
Hearing behind the typing of the rain,
Its abacus and digits,
A voice calling me again,
The kids lie buried under duvets, sound
Asleep. It isn’t them I hear, it’s
Something formless that fidgets
Beyond the window’s benighted mirror,
Where a negative develops, where reflection
Holds up a glass of spirits.
Rain is a kind of recollection.
Much has been shed,
Hissing indignantly into the ground.
It is the listening
Haunted by these fingertaps and sighs
Behind the beaded-curtain glistening,
As though by choices that we didn’t make and never wanted,
As though by the dead and misbegotten.
"Whethering" - E.A. Stallings
Ideal voices we have greatly loved,
of those that death has taken, or of those
that are, for us, lost, even as are the dead.
At times we hear them talking in our dreams;
at times in thought they echo through the brain.
And, with the sound of them, awhile recur
sounds from the first poetry of our lives, --
like music, on still nights, far off, that wanes.
"Voices" - C.P. Cavafy
"We are as forlorn as children lost in the woods. When you stand in front of me and look at me, what do you know of the griefs that are in me and what do I know of yours? And if I were to cast myself down before you and weep and tell you, what more would you know about me than you know about Hell when someone tells you it is hot and dreadful? For that reason alone we human beings ought to stand before one another as reverently, as reflectively, as lovingly, as we would before the entrance to Hell."
- Franz Kafka, Letter to Oskar Pollak, Nov. 8, 1903 (trans. by Frederick R. Karl.)