May 10th 2016

Today’s haiku marks the first for the second half of the year. Yesterday’s was half a year’s worth.
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When the Czech composer Leos Janacek was 63 years old, he fell in love with a 26 year old woman. The woman, Kamila, was married and so was Janacek. She was very friendly toward Janacek but wasn’t romantically interested, and neither was she all that interested in his music—and perhaps music in general. Nonetheless, Janacek’s love inspired a new outpouring of music, and beautiful music at that, inspired by her and for her.
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This story was mentioned on the radio today and I felt a kindred sorrow for Janacek; especially because at that moment a beautiful young woman walked by. Ones appreciation for the beauty of youth doesn’t ebb with age. It’s not just aging, but knowing that even were one single, that’s not a world ever to be returned to—not in this lifetime.
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I often imagine what it would be like to fall in love with this or that woman—young, vigorous, beautiful. It’s that falling in love that is missed, that world of unknown but anticipated possibilities, missed even in the most loving and long lasting of marriages.
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And that longing can inspire the most beautiful art.
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Men eye young women wistfully. But it’s not just men. I recently read the story of a woman who resented men’s gazes and advances in her youth. Now that she was middle-aged, and now that men no longer pursued her, she confessed to a little sadness and regret.
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Robert Frost also fell in love after the death of his wife, and had an affair with the married Kathleen Morrison. Frost was 64, Morrison 40. The allure of Morrison’s youth undoubtedly played a part in Frost’s attraction; but she also inspired him to write with renewed vigor. He produced many of his best poems during this time, perhaps because of a reinvigorated emotional life.
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It’s not that we grow older, it’s that the young don’t grow old with us—or so we imagine.
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a girl
····in April—a young woman
········in May

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186 May 10th 2016 | bottlecap

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