THE FIRE OF LONGING
Modern society is based on an ideology of strength and image. Consequently, old people are often sidelined. Modern culture is totally obsessed with externality, image, speed and change; it is driven. In former times, old people were seen as people of great wisdom. There was always reverence and respect for the elders. Old people still have the fires of longing burning brightly and beautifully within their hearts. Our idea of beauty is imporverished now because beauty is reduced to good looks. There is a whole cult of youthfulness where everyone is trying to look youthful; there are facelifts and endless methods of endeavouring to keep the image of youth. In actual fact, this is not beauty at all. Real beauty is a light that comes from the soul. Sometimes in an old face, you see that light coming from behind the lines; it is a vision of the most poignant beauty. That passion and longing is beautifully expressed in Yeats' poem 'The Song of Wandering Aengus':
I went out to the hazelwood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread.
And when white moths were on the wing
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trouth.