The Importance of Time and Age in “What Lips My Lips Have Kissed” and “When You Are Old” The elements of time and age featured in What Lips My Lips Have Kissed and When You Are Old include experience, regret, bittersweet memories, good times, and wisdom. The writers highlight different settings, age groups, events, relationships, and meeting of different people. In the poem What My Lips Have Kissed, the author is relieving the past moments when she experienced the beauty of love with different individuals. In When You Are Old, the author is addressing a woman he is in love with about his unfilled love hoping the poem will change her mind to return his love. The two poems majorly dwell on time and age to present their points, which enhances the setting and understanding of the subject matter.
Wisdom comes with age, and in the story What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, the writer seems to display regret, anger, despair, and how past relationships ended drastically. In this setting, the writer dwells on the past relationships and mentions how they have made her wiser. Additionally, the author of the poem states how over the years, she has learnt different characters and seems to learn lessons and mistakes from past relationships leading to better knowledge on dealing with relationships due to wisdom gathered over the years. Thus, in this case, both age and time has played an important role in the life of the writer by making her become a wiser person. The same subject of wisdom is also evident in the poem When You Are Old, where the poem is written in the future tense displaying future events the writer foresees happening when the lady is older, grey, full of sleep and nodding by the fire. This shows how age and time will make the addressee wise, and thus, realize that she should have made the decision to return the poet’s love. Somehow, the author is using the elements of age and time to persuade the addressee to make a wise decision of accepting his love so they can grow old together.
Age and time in the two poems are used to express the beauty of love and the ugliness of loneliness. When the poet in What Lips My Lips Have Kissed recounts her encounters with relationships, one cannot help but admire the beautiful love she seemed to have experienced. However, these reminders are also a source of loneliness because the author is alone and no longer in any of the relationships. Moreover, with time and age, these relationships have vanished leaving her with only memories that she remembers while alone in her bedroom. In When You Are Old, the author describes the awful physical state the addressee will be in her old age if she refuses to accept his love. She will be grey and old, sleepy, and nodding by the fire alone, which shows how lonely life will be for her. At the same time, this loneliness could be turned into a beautiful love if the addressee accepts the speakers love and they grow old together. Thus, it will be beautiful if they nodding by the fire together instead of alone. In conclusion, time and age are used to visualize the setting and enhance understanding of the message of the poems, which are wisdom, love, and loneliness.