"Sailing to Byzantium" by William Butler Yeats

My favorite poem in my twenties. Though Yeats wrote it at the age of 62, its boasting and yearning resonated with my aspirations to write. Every few years I return to it to check in with the young man and measure what I had in mind for myself back THEN compared to what I've accomplished NOW. Similar to what I do with locations in the real world - return to old haunts. If the location has bad memories, revisiting it in presumably a happier time (or less melodramatic) let me take the power of the moment back. An idle fancy may strike where a shimmer of Future Me might be visible to assure Then Me that the trial of that moment would be temporary: only endure it, lad.

Sailing to Byzantium
by William Butler Yeats

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
— Those dying generations — at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unaging intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enameling
To keep a drowsy emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.