In Japan there is a tradition of plays, poems, etc.
around Ono no Komachi on the theme of the once
beautiful and famous woman who wanes into neglected
old age and obscurity. The most ready example I can
think of in American poetry is Frost:
“The witch that came (the withered hag)
To wash the steps with pail and rag,
Was once the beauty Abishag,”*
though I am sure there are others, (an English example,
Walter De La Mare:
“The Song of the Secret
Where is beauty?
The cold winds have taken it
With their faint moan;
The white stars have shaken it,
It’s a universal theme, and one that can be treated
as creates a sad sensitive beauty.
That’s the challenge.
*On a coarser note, this is pretty much how Linda Lovelace
of porno fame ended up.