The beautiful things in life are endless. Conrad Aiken wrote about this in the poem “All lovely things.” Just like many of the other poems written by this American poet, it was inspired by Symbolism.
About the poet
Conrad Potter Aiken (August 5 1889 – August 17 1973) was the son of a wealthy family from New England, who moved to Savannah (Georgia, US). His father was a physician and brand surgeon. He was extremely violent towards his family, which made a great impression on Aiken. This violence made the way to dramatic events that took place on February 27 1901. After killing his wife, his father shot himself. At that time, Aiken was only eleven years old. He was the first one to find his parents.
After going through a rough time during his childhood, he was raised by his aunt in Massachusetts. He studied at Harvard University, together with T.S. Eliot. The two of them became friends and this friendship lasted their entire lives.
Aiken began to write when one of his teachers told him he was good at this. Inspired by George Santayana, his teacher, Aiken began to write poetry. He managed to come up with his style, to turn his need for answers to worldly problems into poetry. This work was greatly inspired by Symbolism. Just like poets such as Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Baudelaire.
In 1930 Aiken received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. From that moment, he would win the prize after prize. He finally wrote more than fifty books.
Image source: Wikipedia
All lovely things
All lovely things will have an ending,
All lovely things will fade and die,
And youth, that’s now so bravely spending,
Will beg a penny by and by.
Fine ladies soon are all forgotten,
And goldenrod is dust when dead,
The sweetest flesh and flowers are rotten
And cobwebs tent the brightest head.
Come back, true love! Sweet youth, return!—
But time goes on, and will, unheeding,
Though hands will reach, and eyes will yearn,
And the wild days set true hearts bleeding.
Come back, true love! Sweet youth, remain!—
But goldenrod and daisies wither,
And over them blows autumn rain,
They pass, they pass, and know not whither.
— Conrad Aiken