Waning creativity, a loss of love, a sense of having passed a terrible milestone - William Butler Yeats at the age of fifty, in his "Lines written in dejection". I don't think William celebrated this birthday with a party.
Written on skin, though, the words of his poem become their own opposite. The fifty-year-old man is a piece of art, embodied communication and creative partnership.
If William had only offered to Maud Gonne his own sad blank face as a poetic canvas, perhaps it would have sparked a more positive day....
Lines Written in Dejection
When have I last looked upon
The round green eyes and the long wavering bodies
Of the dark leopards of the moon?
All the wild witches, those most noble ladies,
For all their broom-sticks and their tears,
Their angry tears, are gone.
The holy centaurs of the hills are vanished;
I have nothing but the embittered sun;
Banished heroic mother moon and vanished,
And now that I have come to fifty years
I must endure the timid sun.
[Thanks to J for enduring a stressful shoot on my front doorstep, where we had to keep running inside each time we heard someone walking down the street, in case they might be alarmed by the sight of him all tattooed up. Also all credit to Boots No.7 Stay Precise Felt Tip Eyeliner, which writes like a nice pen and washes off easily...]
Kind of cool footnote: William and Maud were born in 1865 and 1866 respectively. We came along exactly 100 years later.