Portfolio: When we were old

On one of our last literatures classes, we got in pairs and choose a poem from the Part 4 of the “Songs of Ourselves”. With Bianca Ieraci, we decided to look up information about Robert Browning, who wrote Love in a Life. After reading about his past and lovers, we finally started reading  the poem.

Moreover, when we finished, we look up:

  • Literary devices
  • Tone
  • Themes
  • Voice…etc
  • information about the author

This is my presentation:


Finally, we wrote an essay based on other author that a different group analyzed. My essay is about the poem “When you are Old” bu W. B. Yeast. It’s a very interesting and lovely poem of a woman’s life, the journey from when she was young until the present.

To conclude, Im satisfied with my essay and the analysis that we did, however, I could use more literary devices and analyses more in deep the quotes. Also, it can be related with our nowadays life, because it shows how a man is looking for his dear love the journey and the reflection when se was young.

This is my essay:

Comment closely on how the journey from youth to old age is portrayed in the poem «When you are Old» by W. B. Yeats.


         In the poem “When you are Old”, written by William Butler Yeats, the author portrays the journey from youth to old age as a reflection comparing her life with her future and the way in which the person regrets of his personal actions. An elderly woman recalling memories of her younger days. A past lover whispers to her as she looks through a photo album. Basically, the writer is showing that as the woman gets older, she is alone, but she does not have to be lonely. She will always have her memories for companionship in the photo album. 

         At the beginning of the poem, in the first stanza, the poet says that as this old woman is old, she should take up a book and read it slowly. “And nodding by the fire”, she is feeling sleepy and sitting alone in the long winter nights. We can compare her grey hair with all his past, how much she had lived as a symbol of old age. “Full of sleep’. The word “sleep” can be explained as “death”, because it is a natural laziness that comes in a human being as she grows.

         In the second stanza, the speaker represents the theme of reminiscence. The author makes the person in the poem, remember that in her youth, she was loved by many men.”Glad grace”, she will remember her beauty and youth that have faded into the past, so has their love. Some love her because of her beauty and some with a true love, a faithful love to her soul. This shows how the main woman of the poem suffers this transition of remembering old past memories to the present. 

          The author representa her souls as a “pilgrim”, this is a traveler, literally one who has come from far away, who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journey to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system. This is compare as her souls, travelling in time, from the past to the present, to the future.There was one man only who loved her souls, not her physical beauty alone but also the purity of her soul behind her beautiful shape. 

         In the last stanza, he presents a situation focus in the woman’s old age. She remember that she rejected this man who loved her that this memorie and prediction will make her sad. She gave up her opportunity to be with him, because t seems clearly that he stopped looking for her. “And paced upon the mountains overhead

And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.” This quote predicts(future) that because of her rejection, both will never find peace. One day they will die, become part of the sky and stars as being part of a memorie.

          In conclusion, the journey from youth to old age is portrayed in the poem throughout the three stanzas. We can understand how the author, William Butler, conveys the idea of past, present and future in an old woman’s life. Bringing to life, through imagery, old memories and places. 


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