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Friday, January 11, 2008

Poetry Friday: Youth and Age

I've been feeling my age lately. It doesn't help that my birthday is coming up next week. And while I'm happy my third grader is figuring out how to memorize her four times table for math, it doesn't help that one of her memorization tricks is using my upcoming age for one of the answers. My husband helped her with that little trick. Though, in his defense, I was the one who started this...I used his age for another times four problem. Nothing like some quick thinking to make one feel humble.

What I'm finally beginning to realize, is how behind the times I've gotten with all the technology out there at our fingertips. I used to be the one who was in the know, waxing poetic about the virtues of newest technological discovery. And now, I find myself feeling a little disconnected from all that technology has to offer.

I was recently introduced to GoogleTalk, a way of Instant Messaging (IM), and while it was cool, I felt a bit awkward. Yes, it was good to be able to communicate quickly via IM, but what I missed was the interpersonal connection I get from talking to someone face-to-face or over the phone. I can see how someone is feeling or hear it in the voice, and I can't get that with the IM. Isn't it funny that I prefer regular e-mail to IM? Please tell me, if you know the answer to this, what is it that I don't get about IMing that teens find so addictive?

And technology isn't the only thing I've found myself feeling out of date with. How about music or fashion? Sigh. Edited to Add: If you have a moment, I'd love your help. Please stop by and read my Writing Question: Invasion of Privacy...When is it Considered Bad Form? and leave your comments.

So I offer up Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem Youth and Age for today's Poetry Friday.

Youth and Age
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Verse, a breeze mid blossoms straying,
Where Hope clung feeding, like a bee—
Both were mine! Life went a-maying
With Nature, Hope, and Poesy,
When I was young!

When I was young?—Ah, woful When!
Ah! for the change 'twixt Now and Then!
This breathing house not built with hands,
This body that does me grievous wrong,
O'er aery cliffs and glittering sands,
How lightly then it flashed along:—
Like those trim skiffs, unknown of yore,
On winding lakes and rivers wide,
That ask no aid of sail or oar,
That fear no spite of wind or tide!
Nought cared this body for wind or weather
When Youth and I lived in't together.

Flowers are lovely; Love is flower-like;
Friendship is a sheltering tree;
O! the joys, that came down shower-like,
Of Friendship, Love, and Liberty,
Ere I was old!
Ere I was old? Ah woful Ere,
Which tells me, Youth's no longer here!
O Youth! for years so many and sweet,
'Tis known, that Thou and I were one,
I'll think it but a fond conceit—
It cannot be that Thou art gone!

Thy vesper-bell hath not yet toll'd:—
And thou wert aye a masker bold!
What strange disguise hast now put on,
To make believe, that thou are gone?
I see these locks in silvery slips,
This drooping gait, this altered size:
But Spring-tide blossoms on thy lips,
And tears take sunshine from thine eyes!
Life is but thought: so think I will
That Youth and I are house-mates still.

Dew-drops are the gems of morning,
But the tears of mournful eve!
Where no hope is, life's a warning
That only serves to make us grieve,
When we are old:
That only serves to make us grieve
With oft and tedious taking-leave,
Like some poor nigh-related guest,
That may not rudely be dismist;
Yet hath outstay'd his welcome while,
And tells the jest without the smile.

The Book Mine Set is hosting Poetry Friday today. Have a great weekend, Everyone!


Kelly said...

Awww, Vivian! Happy Upcoming Birthday :)

Re: IM. I learned how to IM only this year. At age 40! I can do it in Skype, Google, and AIM.

Here's the good:

1) For communicating with my sister who is nearly deaf, it's wonderful.
2) For group conversations, it's WAAAYYY better than a conference call. In my other writing group, we have a weekly chat which is awesome. The ideas can kind of flow in that format.
3) My husband and I IM on Skype when he's upstairs and I'm down.
4) Great when people are overseas.
5) Fab for people who hate talking on the phone, like me.

I do think it's hard for us oldsters though because we don't know any of the shortcuts. We just type like we type an e-mail--with grammar and spelling and whatnot :)

Christine M said...

Happy soon-to-be Birthday, Vivian.

I like IM because you can leave in the middle of a conversation to take care of something if need be - something that can be a little more awkward in a phone call - and then come back.

Technology does seem to upgrade so fast it doesn't take much to feel left behind.

Love the poem by the way.

Kelly Fineman said...

An early happy birthday to you, Vivian.

HipWriterMama said...

Those are great reasons. Thanks for sharing them. And Skype? Just another thing I need to learn about.

Thanks for your input. And hope your daughter has a fantastic birthday tomorrow!

Thank you!

Nowheymama said...


Happy almost birthday!

HipWriterMama said...

Thanks! And good luck to your husband for his entry in the Pillsbury Bake Off contest! It looks so yummy!

jama said...

A good reflective poem. Happy almost Birthday, Vivian. You're NOT old.
I'm still using the pony express for all my correspondence.

Polenth said...

I like the fact I can IM while I'm doing other things. Plus, it's free. I can talk to someone for hours on IM, but I couldn't afford phonecalls that long.

With that said, I prefer email in most cases. I get a lot of messages and I couldn't cope if all those people sent me IMs instead. IMs are more for close friends and family.

In response to Kelly, you'll find more teens use real English than you might think. People like writers and roleplayers are prone to avoiding IM shorthand, regardless of age.

Little Willow said...

Happy almost birthday!

Age is relative.

Sara said...

Vivian, you can't be old, because that would make me old too. :)

I like to IM while I'm playing Scrabbulous. Yesterday, my friend and I were commenting on the words we were playing and how they could make a poem.

I've been known to IM my son from the top floor of our house when he's in the basement. Saves yelling.

HipWriterMama said...

I'm glad there's someone else who likes the regular mail!

Thanks for the observations and for stopping by my blog. I just checked out your new blog. Welcome to the blogosphere.

This is a good one to remind myself these days. Thank you.

I'm starting to see how the IMing is addicting. Thank you!

laurasalas said...

Happy Bday, Vivian!

I find myself teetering between wanting to say at least *somewhat* up with technology, and yet not doing it for the sake of doing it. We're about to get a texting plan for our family cell phones, so we'll see how that goes!

Becky said...

I'm sure there must have been a birthday in there since your post, so I hope it was a happy one, Vivian! (I checked the more recent posts but didn't see any mention of it...).