So when confronted with the choice between bitterness and other less self-destructive methods of coping with hurt, bitterness is always the easy go-to choice, but poetry is a better path. In poetry you can express the shades of hurt without slamming the source of the bitterness full in the face with angry rhetoric.
Case in point: Yeats and his wry “When YOu Are Old.” Now, you can interpret this as an ode to love sustained- some folks see the woman in the poem as reflecting on a love that she had and is now nostalgic for it. I see it as a “too bad” moment for this old woman. She’s old and tired, and the one man who saw and loved the pilgrim soul in her she has pushed away. And he states that she should bend low to the fire and murmur sadly how love has fled. I like that. It’s true. When you have love you should hold onto it, not give it up for those fleeting moments where “many loved you with loves both false and true.” Those moments are fleeting at best. Love that is true should be held onto, nurtured. So Yeats had it right. If you are stupid enough to pass up the best thing, then you’ll regret it, maybe not now, but at some point. I guess if we weren’t fools then there’d be no need of poetry.
When You Are Old
By William Butler Yeats