Sometimes I imagine that I am still young,
Like an old sleeping dog in his dreams;
His legs move, and he pants at the air with his tongue,
As he chases an object which seems
To embody the world of his hopes and desires,
And all that he ever could be—
For that vision of beauty still somehow inspires
The young animal sleeping in me.


But I know now my animal powers have waned,
And that object will never be caught,
And that dream in itself, though never attained,
Is the essence of what I once sought.
So that now I look calmly and kindly on things
That once caused a storm in my heart,
And stop to consider what each moment brings,
As if it were some small work of art.


The wind in the treetops, the laugh of a child,
Or anything happy and free,
Though their blessings in my life have not always smiled,
Have never been sweeter to me—
And that beautiful sadness we sometimes will feel,
When old music will make our heart melt,
Though it’s fleeting, is somehow more precious and real
Than what a young heart ever felt.

The Imaginative Conservative applies the principle of appreciation to the discussion of culture and politics—we approach dialogue with magnanimity rather than with mere civility. Will you help us remain a refreshing oasis in the increasingly contentious arena of modern discourse? Please consider donating now.

We hope you will join us in The Imaginative Conservative community. The Imaginative Conservative is an online journal for those who seek the True, the Good, and the Beautiful. We address culture, liberal learning, politics, political economy, literature, the arts and the American Republic in the tradition of Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot, Edmund Burke, Irving Babbitt, Wilhelm Roepke, Robert Nisbet, Richard Weaver, M.E. Bradford, Eric Voegelin, Christopher Dawson, Paul Elmer More, and other leaders of Imaginative Conservatism. Some conservatives may look at the state of Western culture and the American Republic and see a huge dark cloud which seems ready to unleash a storm that may well wash away what we most treasure of our inherited ways. Others focus on the silver lining which may be found in the next generation of traditional conservatives who have been inspired by Dr. Kirk and his like. We hope that The Imaginative Conservative answers T.S. Eliot’s call to “redeem the time, redeem the dream.” The Imaginative Conservative offers to our families, our communities, and the Republic, a conservatism of hope, grace, charity, gratitude, and prayer.

The featured image is Sleeping Dog (1650) by Gerrit Dou (1613-1675) and is in the public domain, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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