Inspirational Poem on Aging | My Lost Youth by Longfellow

///Inspirational Poem on Aging | My Lost Youth by Longfellow

Inspirational Poem on Aging | My Lost Youth by Longfellow

As a senior in high school, like many seniors in high school today, I was asked for a quote to place under my senior yearbook photo. I had forgotten what I had written until tonight when I read the inspirational poem, My Lost Youth, by Henry Wordsworth Longfellow.

Inspirational Poem, My Lost Youth

At the age of 17, I couldn’t fully comprehend the meaning of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, My Lost Youth. But as I read the inspirational poem on aging, there was one repetitive line that stood out more than the others. I felt a strong connection to it but at first I didn’t understand why. That night as I began to fall asleep, the reason came to me.  My mother was losing a long battle against a slow growing, inoperable brain tumor. The loving memories of my childhood years would be all that I would have to hold on to as I traveled through my own life without her.

The line from this inspirational poem on aging I chose to place under my senior photo from the poem, My Lost Youth, was…

And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.

My quote is a line that was part of a verse Longfellow took from a Lapland song. I remember my friends asking me why I chose that line. I simply replied, “Because memories of my youth will always be with me.”  Now that I am in my grandmother years, I might add the poem’s lines…

And with joy that is almost pain

My heart goes back to wander there,

And among the dreams of the days that were,

I find my lost youth again.

Poem readings can be very personal. If you ask several people to read the same poem, they will most likely describe to you a different interpretation. Longfellow wrote My Lost Youth as a tribute to the home of his youthful years in Maine and to his own youthful years.

Even though I was never a young boy nor lived in Portland, Maine, I could relate to the theme of this inspirational poem. If you can support your reasons for your personal interpretation of a poem and have it make sense, then it’s never wrong.

Perhaps Not So Much of an Inspirational Poem

Now that I am approaching my 70’s, I have a second interpretation of this poem. As we age, our short-term memory tends to fade in and out, but our long-term memory…our thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts…I find my lost youth again.

To search for an inspirational poem that has meaning for you, visit Inspirational Poems & Quotes on

About the Author:

Grandmother of 5 great kids, retired special ed high school teacher, married since 1972 to Poppy…loves spoiling the grands, crocheting for whomever I can and charities, reading, crafts, outdoors, and blogging.


  1. Leaves of Life, A Cycle of Life Poem 2016/06/05 at 11:14 am

    […] Since I began my blog in 2008, our family has grown. We now (2016) have five grandchildren ranging in age from the oldest turning 15 in July…10…7…5…and 2. We look forward, as grandparents, to many years left in our cycle of life so we may enjoy our leaves of life, and hopefully a few of theirs. If you enjoyed Leaves of Life as an inspirational aging poem, you might also like My Lost Youth, by Longfellow. […]

  2. Jeff 2015/11/19 at 2:15 pm

    Beautifully said.

    I always thought the “long, long” thoughts meant we spend a great deal of time thinking about our past youth, but can’t ever reach it.

    Beautiful poem.

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