Sunday, 22 June 2014

The Lake Isle of Innisfree, a poem for today

Whenever I listen to my Irish friends talking I feel as though they are singing. Their turn of phrase, their lilting voices make me feel as though my accent is stiff and wooden in comparison. My poem for today is by William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939). His use of language was exotic and passionate, his poems often go straight to the heart. His biography is absorbing reading. His personal life was rich and varied, he must have been a man of passion. His lifetime saw mainly painful and terrible events, many with tragic and far-reaching consequences. T.S.Eliot (1888 - 1965) said of him 'he is one of those few poets whose history is the history of their own time, who are part of the consciousness of an age that cannot be understood without them'. W.B.Yeats described his poetry as 'a mouthful of air'. He was born in Ireland and then moved to England as a boy. He knew what it felt like to be homesick and people the world over can relate to this feeling. The poem for today is well known and greatly loved. He wrote it sitting in a shop window in London and thinking about the places he loved as a boy .Innisfree is a wooded island in Lough Gill, Sligo.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine-bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes
  dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the
  cricket sings,
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
  And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore,
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

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