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....
Exactly. That is what I am trying to get at in my novel. That and Picnic at Hanging Rock.
When I read Yeats in college I did not get "unless / Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing / For every tatter in its mortal dress." I thought I got it. Dionysus, deep, dark laughter, yeah, yeah. But you can't get certain poems until you're older. I mean, I'm not that old, but you have to have the retrospective view of your life, and you don't have it when you're twenty. You have regrets, repressions, but you simply aren't old enough. I can tell by the notes I made on this poem ("Sailing to Byzantium") in my Norton that I had no idea what it was about. "Between two worlds," I wrote. (He's in transit, sailing, see?) I was writing down the professor's explication; I did not feel it. Four Quartets was another one. In college it was, I thought, the hardest poem I'd ever read. But now I can see it's about getting old, just like lots and lots of poetry.