Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A blog post with no title

“I meditate upon a swallow's flight…

They came like swallows and like swallows went,
And yet a woman's powerful character
Could keep a Swallow to its first intent;
And half a dozen in formation there,
That seemed to whirl upon a compass-point,
Found certainty upon the dreaming air,
The intellectual sweetness of those lines
That cut through time or cross it withershins.”

William Butler Yeats - Coole Park, 1929

A poem with its references to swallows seems appropriate for this time of year, even though Yeats refers to them in more of a metaphorical sense. I’ve long been an admirer of Yeats’ works (well some of them at least) ,having studied him for A-Level English literature many moons ago.
I’m not really in the habit of visiting dead artists’ graves, but Yeats is one of those people whose grave I have seen – the others being Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison. A quaint churchyard in rural Sligo contrasts neatly with the sprawling maze of graves that is Pere Lachaise in Paris, an oasis of calm within the bustling city.

I’m not one for speculating about “what if” scenarios, but it’s interesting to wonder whether Yeats would have a blog if he were around today…
And if so, what sort of stuff would he put on it? The mind boggles…

12 comments:

Lorainne said...

Also studied for A Level and English Degree - My favourite Yeats poem is He Wishes For The Cloths of Heaven:

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

I also really like An Irish Airman Forsees His Death - about an Irishman who signs up to fight in WW1 not because of any loyalty to England (God forbid) or thoughts that it will help his countrymen but because he just 'feels like it' to use a modern phrase.

What would Yeats put on his blog??? A lot about Maud Gonne I would imagine. Do you reckon if he had shaved his beard off she may not have run off with MacBride?? (terrible kissing men with beards - not that I have tried)

Lorainne said...

Not sure Yeats had a beard actually...may have been my strange fantasy....William Wordsworth is a great poet to read if you like poems about nature and the countryside - his whole philosophy was quite pagan - he saw God in nature and thought man was out of tune with the natural world eg in the lines:

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;

- this is of course more true now than in the era (he was born 1770) in which he lived. He did get married but had a very close relationship with his sister Dorothy (nothing incestuous I don't think - but he was more emotionally attached to her than he was to his wife)

Sorry for lengthy answer Ciaran but you have started me off on a favourite subject so it is really your fault.

Antonio from Italy said...

I went to Drumcliff too, twice.
It's a quite nice place. The first time I went there I didn't notice the High Cross in the churchyard. But I did the second time, as well for the newly established coffee shop and the souvenirs stand in the car park that ruined the whole atmosphere...

northernsole said...

I totally agree Antonio. It's a shame such a peaceful place with its breathtaking scenery in the shadow of Benbulbin has been spoiled by this. On the plus side however, it does provide extra income for the local economy.

Antonio from Italy said...

Ciaran,
Do you think that leaving money in the pockets of the coffe-shop man or the scarves and hats man really gives any advantages to the economy of Drumcliff or the local people?
Maybe those two stands are run by two persons not living there and anyway I don't see how that little cash can be positive for the entire area...

Lorainne said...

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot....
......They took all the trees
Put em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see 'em

northernsole said...

Antonio, I agree, the area benefits from tourism anyway, so setting up tacky souvenir stalls won't really make any difference.

Lorainne, I don't think that's Yeats?

Lorainne said...

Joni Mitchell- I love some of her songs and the lyrics are like real poetry - You could do an interesting essay comparing her lyrics to Yeats poetry like Song to a Seagull:

I came to the city
And lived like old Crusoe
On an island of noise
In a cobblestone sea
And the beaches were concrete
And the stars paid a light bill
And the blossoms hung false
On their store window trees
My dreams with the seagulls fly
Out of reach out of cry

northernsole said...

I quite like "Chelsea Morning".

Lorainne said...

Yeah, thats a good one - I like 'Lucky Girl'

I wonder what Yeats would have thought???

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