February 2008


Not much to say here these days. Just too busy and too stressed and too….wordless? Yeah…that almost sums it up. So, I’ve decided to keep letting my favourite poets say it all for me. Today, I’m in a William Butler Yeats mood…actually, I’m almost always in a Yeats mood, but even more so today. So those of you that might be particular to his poetry are in for a bit of a treat! Here are a few of my favourites!

THE EVERLASTING VOICES

O sweet everlasting Voices, be still;
Go to the guards of the heavenly fold
And bid them wander obeying your will,
Flame under flame, till Time be no more;
Have you not heard that our hearts are old,
That you call in birds, in wind on the hill,
In shaken boughs, in tide on the shore?
O sweet everlasting Voices, be still.

THE HEART OF THE WOMAN

O what to me the little room
That was brimmed up with prayer and rest;
He bade me out into the gloom,
And my breast lies upon his breast.

O what to me my mother’s care,
The house where I was safe and warm;
The shadowy blossom of my hair
Will hide us from the bitter storm.

O hiding hair and dewy eyes,
I am no more with life and death,
My heart upon his warm heart lies,
My breath is mixed into his breath.

THE FIDDLER OF DOONEY

When I play on my fiddle in Dooney.
Folk dance like a wave of the sea;
My cousin is priest in Kilvarnet,
My brother in Mocharabuiee.

I passed my brother and cousin:
They read in their books of prayer;
I read in my book of songs
I bought at the Sligo fair.

When we come at the end of time
To Peter sitting in state,
He will smile on the three old spirits,
But call me first through the gate;

For the good are always the merry,
Save by an evil chance,
And the merry love the fiddle,
And the merry love to dance:

And when the folk there spy me,
They will all come up to me,
With ‘Here is the fiddler of Dooney!’
And dance like a wave of the sea.

THE SORROW OF LOVE

THE brawling of a sparrow in the eaves,
The brilliant moon and all the milky sky,
And all that famous harmony of leaves,
Had blotted out man’s image and his cry.

A girl arose that had red mournful lips
And seemed the greatness of the world in tears,
Doomed like Odysseus and the labouring ships
And proud as Priam murdered with his peers;

Arose, and on the instant clamorous eaves,
A climbing moon upon an empty sky,
And all that lamentation of the leaves,
Could but compose man’s image and his cry.

Hopefully this will satiate my Yeatsean desires! Although I’m sure it won’t. But I won’t bore you all with any more of his poetry for today, though. Instead, I’ll go read them for myself. 🙂 And maybe I’ll get some time to actually write something of my own, instead of relying on the poets of old to write it for me. Maybe…but I have to admit I am enjoying this immensely. The poets of old are little read anymore, I fear. Their works need to be dug out of obscurity and again put into the limelight they deserve. Maybe then we will be able to get back so much of what we have lost…but then again, maybe I’m just far too sentimental.

More about spring…and a bit more by William Wordsworth. Yes, I do have a one track mind these days. For the most part…

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:–
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

I don’t think that it’s hard to know what’s on my mind right now..and since D.H. Lawrence says it far better than I, I’ll let him do just that:

I wish it were spring in the world.

Let it be spring!
Come, bubbling, surging tide of sap!
Come, rush of creation!
Come, life! surge through this mass of mortification!
Come, sweep away these exquisite, ghastly first-flowers,
which are rather last-flowers!
Come, thaw down their cool portentousness, dissolve them:
snowdrops, straight, death-veined exhalations of white and purple crocuses,
flowers of the penumbra, issue of corruption, nourished in mortification,
jets of exquisite finality;
Come, spring, make havoc of them!

I trample on the snowdrops, it gives me pleasure to tread down the jonquils,
to destroy the chill Lent lilies;
for I am sick of them, their faint-bloodedness,
slow-blooded, icy-fleshed, portentous.

I want the fine, kindling wine-sap of spring,
gold, and of inconceivably fine, quintessential brightness,
rare almost as beams, yet overwhelmingly potent,
strong like the greatest force of world-balancing.

This is the same that picks up the harvest of wheat
and rocks it, tons of grain, on the ripening wind;
the same that dangles the globe-shaped pleiads of fruit
temptingly in mid-air, between a playful thumb and finger;
oh, and suddenly, from out of nowhere, whirls the pear-bloom,
upon us, and apple- and almond- and apricot- and quince-blossom,
storms and cumulus clouds of all imaginable blossom
about our bewildered faces,
though we do not worship.

I wish it were spring
cunningly blowing on the fallen sparks, odds and ends of the old, scattered fire,
and kindling shapely little conflagrations
curious long-legged foals, and wide-eared calves, and naked sparrow-bubs.

I wish that spring
would start the thundering traffic of feet
new feet on the earth, beating with impatience.

I wish it were spring, thundering
delicate, tender spring.
I wish these brittle, frost-lovely flowers of passionate, mysterious corruption
were not yet to come still more from the still-flickering discontent.

Oh, in the spring, the bluebell bows him down for very exuberance,
exulting with secret warm excess,
bowed down with his inner magnificence!

Oh, yes, the gush of spring is strong enough
to toss the globe of earth like a ball on a water-jet
dancing sportfully;
as you see a tiny celluloid ball tossing on a squirt of water
for men to shoot at, penny-a-time, in a booth at a fair.

The gush of spring is strong enough
to play with the globe of earth like a ball on a fountain;
At the same time it opens the tiny hands of the hazel
with such infinite patience.
The power of the rising, golden, all-creative sap could take the earth
and heave it off among the stars, into the invisible;
the same sets the throstle at sunset on a bough
singing against the blackbird;
comes out in the hesitating tremor of the primrose,
and betrays its candour in the round white strawberry flower,
is dignified in the foxglove, like a Red-Indian brave.

Ah come, come quickly, spring!
come and lift us towards our culmination, we myriads;
we who have never flowered, like patient cactuses.
Come and lift us to our end, to blossom, bring us to our summer
we who are winter-weary in the winter of the of the world.
Come making the chaffinch nests hollow and cosy,
come and soften the willow buds till they are puffed and furred,
then blow them over with gold.
Coma and cajole the gawky colt’s-foot flowers.

Come quickly, and vindicate us.
against too much death.
Come quickly, and stir the rotten globe of the world from within,
burst it with germination, with world anew.
Come now, to us, your adherents, who cannot flower from the ice.
All the world gleams with the lilies of death the Unconquerable,
but come, give us our turn.
Enough of the virgins and lilies, of passionate, suffocating perfume of corruption,
no more narcissus perfume, lily harlots, the blades of sensation
piercing the flesh to blossom of death.
Have done, have done with this shuddering, delicious business
of thrilling ruin in the flesh, of pungent passion, of rare, death-edged ecstasy.
Give us our turn, give us a chance, let our hour strike,
O soon, soon!
Let the darkness turn violet with rich dawn.
Let the darkness be warmed, warmed through to a ruddy violet,
incipient purpling towards summer in the world of the heart of man.

Are the violets already here!
Show me! I tremble so much to hear it, that even now
on the threshold of spring, I fear I shall die.
Show me the violets that are out.

Oh, if it be true, and the living darkness of the blood of man is purpling with violets,
if the violets are coming out from under the rack of men, winter-rotten and fallen,
we shall have spring.
Pray not to die on this Pisgah blossoming with violets.
Pray to live through.
If you catch a whiff of violets from the darkness of the shadow of man
it will be spring in the world,
it will be spring in the world of the living;
wonderment organising itself, heralding itself with the violets,
stirring of new seasons.

Ah, do not let me die on the brink of such anticipation!
Worse, let me not deceive myself.

This morning, as I sat at my desk trying to weed out my inbox (my inbox is very reflective of my life in general…it’s very disorganised and needs to be cleaned out), Victoria, who is 6, was sitting next to me playing with one of her dolls. She was singing and having the doll walk around on my desk, and for the most part, ignoring the fact that I was sitting next to her. This was fine with me, because I really did need to get my inbox back to some manageable state.

So there we were, she was singing and playing, and I was weeding and trying to figure out if that email from August really was that important to save or not. All of a sudden, she stops playing and says “Mom?” I stop what I’m doing and look over at her and ask her what she needs.

“Do husbands really do that?” she asks.
“Do what?” I ask in return….I am wondering if she thought I had been paying attention to her while she was playing, and so I was feeling rather guilty that I hadn’t been. She just looks at me for a moments with her eyes wide (a normal expression for her, I might add), which makes me uncomfortable because apparently I was supposed to be paying attention…caught in the act of nonattention yet again! After about 30 seconds, she finally gets more specific:

“Do husbands really throw their wives up in the air?” she innocently asks.

Huh? Where in the WORLD did she come up with that one? I think back from the past few days, wondering if she might have watched something that might give her the idea that husbands just walk around, throwing their wives up into the air. Peter Pan was the last thing, and I don’t think Mr Darling threw Mrs Darling up in the air even once. So scratch that idea. I’m a bit muddled, because since I don’t know where she got such an idea, I have no idea how to answer. Aside from no…which of course is the obvious answer. It’s not like Mr Izz goes around throwing me up in the air on a regular basis (thank God!).

“Ummmm….no, Toria. Husbands don’t do that for real.” I answer, and start to laugh. She begins to laugh with me, and says:

“Ok, I was just wondering!”
“Where did you come up with such a thing?” I ask, but she says she was just kidding and skipped off, presumably in search of some other fun game. So I still have NO idea where she came up with that, but I suppose I’ll have to be content in that. Until then, I’m sure that her dolls will be thrown up into the air on a regular basis, just because she thinks it’s fun. I just hope that when she is old enough to be married, it’s not a stipulation for her future husband. She might be in trouble if that is indeed the case.