Tag Archives: W. B. Yeats

Creeping quietly or raging against the dying of the light?

The word decrepit has been on my mind yesterday evening and this morning. Last night and this morning I felt that it applied to me, but to make sure I checked it in some internet dictionaries and this is what I found out: Things the word describes are “worn and broken down by hard or long use” and when it refers to people they are “weakened, worn out, impaired, or broken down by old age, illness” or “lacking bodily or muscular strength or vitality”. The Latin word it comes from is crepare and its meaning is given as “to make a noise, rattle” or “to burst, crack” or “to creak” (three different dictionaries). And yet the one that says it means “to make a noise, rattle” also says that the Latin “decrepitus, perhaps orig. [meant] noised out, noiseless, applied to old people, who creep about quietly”.

I like the idea of being “noised out”. It gives the impression that I have made a lot of noise about something and now am finished with it. I do not like the idea that I would “creep about quietly” when I am old (61 is not old!). I think we should do what Dylan Thomas told his father to do

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Yeats, also, would not accept “creeping quietly” in old age but protested against such an idea:
You think it horrible that lust and rage
Should dance attention upon my old age;
They were not such a plague when I was young;
What else have I to spur me into song?

I did feel old and decrepit last night and this morning. However, I felt it more in the way the things are said to be “worn and broken down by hard or long use”. The use in this case was not so long but certainly felt hard to me. It was the treck home with the heavy load in the rain that did it for me.

A friend of mine has gone on holiday and asked me to look after his business while he was away. His business is selling things, mainly books, on the internet. I am to go to his place twice a week to check the orders and send them off. It is supposed to take only a couple of hours. Yesterday there were more orders than there were when he showed me how to do things. It took me a while to locate everything in his storeroom. I got everything done ready to fill in the order for the mailing part of the work. That is when his computer decided not to work so well. The end result was that I could not make the connection with the person who collected the mail from the mail box down the road. And when I still had not managed to fill in the internet form for the payment of the mail by the time the later post collection was happening I gave up trying to do it with his computer. I packed all the books and other stuff and everything else I needed and came home. I walked in the rain with those heavy bags to catch a bus and then at this end walked some more in the rain. When I got home I just dumped the bags in the living room, heated some soup my youngest had left me before going to the music festival, ate and went to bed.

This morning I was still aching from the previous night’s struggles. But I was at the post office here soon after it opened handing in one big and heavy sack of mail having walked another fifteen minutes in rain – again. I did not have many bags to carry as I managed to fit most of the packets in my suitcase with wheels. In the post office I put them all in the mail sack.

I am going to do the whole business from my home from now on. I shall check the orders here, print the labels and go with them to my friends place. I shall collect the things to mail out and pull them home in my suitcase with wheels. Then I shall finish the business here and take them to the post office here. Unless his computer works better next time. I shall give it a try, but will not wait if it is not fast enough.