I adore Shakespeare. And like the majority of folks out there, when I think of Shakespeare, I usually think of his plays. But his other writings are wonderful too, and his sonnets are always worth visiting and revisiting. (I'm sure we'll read plenty of them by the time this year is done!) I really like the imagery in this one. Although I am not elderly myself and therefore have never experienced the feelings expressed in this poem, the images Shakespeare uses create the experience for me. (And interestingly enough, Shakespeare probably wrote the sonnets when he was in his early- to mid-thirties -- so he hadn't experienced old age either.) Is it just me, or do the images become just slightly warmer over the course of the poem? They're all three dreary, but by the end, we can sense a lingering warmth.
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie
As the deathbed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.