W. B. Yeats

Poetry dedicated to the moon! You know you’ve been waiting for it, and it’s only taken me a few years to finally get to it. The problem is there are so many to choose from, it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few. But, I’m more than willing to try. So, for your reading pleasure, Moon Poetry, beginning with the moonrise:

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

I awoke in the Midsummer not to call night, in the white and the walk of the morning:
The moon, dwindled and thinned to the fringe of a finger-nail held to the candle,
Or paring of paradisaical fruit, lovely in waning but lustreless,
Stepped from the stool, drew back from the barrow, of dark Maenefa the mountain;

A cusp still clasped him, a fluke yet fanged him, entangled him, not quite utterly.
This was the prized, the desirable sight, unsought, presented so easily,
Parted me leaf and leaf, divided me, eyelid and eyelid of slumber.

And once the moon has risen, what is there to do, other than sit under it?

Under The Moon
by William Butler Yeats

I have no happiness in dreaming of Brycelinde,
Nor Avalon the grass-green hollow, nor Joyous Isle,
Where one found Lancelot crazed and hid him for a while;
Nor Uladh, when Naoise had thrown a sail upon the wind;
Nor lands that seem too dim to be burdens on the heart:
Land-under-Wave, where out of the moon’s light and the sun’s
Seven old sisters wind the threads of the long-lived ones,
Land-of-the-Tower, where Aengus has thrown the gates apart,
And Wood-of-Wonders, where one kills an ox at dawn,
To find it when night falls laid on a golden bier.
Therein are many queens like Branwen and Guinevere;
And Niamh and Laban and Fand, who could change to an otter or fawn,
And the wood-woman, whose lover was changed to a blue-eyed hawk;
And whether I go in my dreams by woodland, or dun, or shore,
Or on the unpeopled waves with kings to pull at the oar,
I hear the harp-string praise them, or hear their mournful talk.

Because of something told under the famished horn
Of the hunter’s moon, that hung between the night and the day,
To dream of women whose beauty was folded in dis may,
Even in an old story, is a burden not to be borne.

and then perhaps ask the moon to look down upon us…

Look Down, Fair Moon
by Walt Whitman

LOOK down, fair moon, and bathe this scene;
Pour softly down night’s nimbus floods, on faces ghastly, swollen, purple;
On the dead, on their backs, with their arms toss’d wide,
Pour down your unstinted nimbus, sacred moon.

Add a dash of sentimentality…

What Counsel Has the Hooded Moon
by James Joyce

What counsel has the hooded moon
Put in thy heart, my shyly sweet,
Of Love in ancient plenilune,
Glory and stars beneath his feet — –
A sage that is but kith and kin
With the comedian Capuchin?

Believe me rather that am wise
In disregard of the divine,
A glory kindles in those eyes
Trembles to starlight. Mine, O Mine!
No more be tears in moon or mist
For thee, sweet sentimentalist.

a bit of silliness, in the form of nervous nursery…

The Cruel Moon
by Robert Graves

The cruel Moon hangs out of reach
Up above the shadowy beech.
Her face is stupid, but her eye
Is small and sharp and very sly.
Nurse says the Moon can drive you mad?
No, that’s a silly story, lad!
Though she be angry, though she would
Destroy all England if she could,
Yet think, what damage can she do
Hanging there so far from you?
Don’t heed what frightened nurses say:
Moons hang much too far away.

and into the dawn…

Memoriam A. H. H.: 67. When on my bed the moonlight fall
by Lord Alfred Tennyson

When on my bed the moonlight falls,
I know that in thy place of rest
By that broad water of the west,
There comes a glory on the walls:
Thy marble bright in dark appears,
As slowly steals a silver flame
Along the letters of thy name,
And o’er the number of thy years.
The mystic glory swims away;
From off my bed the moonlight dies;
And closing eaves of wearied eyes
I sleep till dusk is dipt in gray:

And then I know the mist is drawn
A lucid veil from coast to coast,
And in the dark church like a ghost
Thy tablet glimmers to the dawn.

And with that, I end my tribute to the moon. Although……no poetical tribute would be complete without going a bit Wilde. That would just be blasphemous…at least for me 😉

by Oscar Wilde

THE apple trees are hung with gold,
And birds are loud in Arcady,
The sheep lie bleating in the fold,
The wild goat runs across the wold,
But yesterday his love he told,
I know he will come back to me.
O rising moon! O Lady moon!
Be you my lover’s sentinel,
You cannot choose but know him well,
For he is shod with purple shoon,
You cannot choose but know my love,
For he a shepherd’s crook doth bear,
And he is soft as any dove,
And brown and curly is his hair.

The turtle now has ceased to call
Upon her crimson-footed groom,
The grey wolf prowls about the stall,
The lily’s singing seneschal
Sleeps in the lily-bell, and all
The violet hills are lost in gloom.
O risen moon! O holy moon!
Stand on the top of Helice,
And if my own true love you see,
Ah! if you see the purple shoon,
The hazel crook, the lad’s brown hair,
The goat-skin wrapped about his arm,
Tell him that I am waiting where
The rushlight glimmers in the Farm.

The falling dew is cold and chill,
And no bird sings in Arcady,
The little fauns have left the hill,
Even the tired daffodil
Has closed its gilded doors, and still
My lover comes not back to me.
False moon! False moon! O waning moon!
Where is my own true lover gone,
Where are the lips vermilion,
The shepherd’s crook, the purple shoon?
Why spread that silver pavilion,
Why wear that veil of drifting mist?
Ah! thou hast young Endymion,
Thou hast the lips that should be kissed!


Mr Izz finished his finals today…which means only 5 months until he is DONE, and only a year and a half until we are in Ireland!!! Anyway. Where was I? Oh, right, finals. He’s done, which is a grand thing. I went and picked him up after his last one, and since he didn’t have coffee before he left this morning, he decided to stop at a coffee shop on the way home. Of course I was thrilled. I mean, I love coffee, and this particular coffee shop has the added attraction of boasting a large assortment of used books for sale as well. And I mean it when I say large assortment; they have cookbooks, trashy romance novels, classics, kids’ books…you name it, they have it or something similar to it. But even with all of these lovely categories to choose from, there is one category I migrate to more than any other (after the trashy romance novels, of course)…the Poetry Section. Whenever I am in the coffee shop, it is an absolute necessity to see if there might be anything new and exciting in the poetry section. But I don’t run over to it immediately…I try to be coy and nonchalant about the whole thing. There is no need to let on how much I adore books of poetry. I’m certain Mr Izz has no idea of how much I really do adore them, based on my nonchalance. I am very good at it…I think.

I get my coffee and sit down to hear all about Mr Izz’s finals, my coffee cup firmly grasped in both hands to warm up my fingers. I peer at him over the rim of my cup as I take a sip, as he goes on about how he should have done better on such and such an exam, trying hard to focus on what he is saying. It doesn’t take long, however, until my eyes wander over toward the poetry books…I wonder if there is anything new? I haven’t been in here for a while…is someone talking to me? “IZZ! Do you want another cup of coffee?” he asked me quite loudly. “Oh! Yes, I do. Sorry, I have a lot on my mind.” I reply. Mr Izz rolls his eyes and walks off. Now, why on earth did he roll his eyes like that? What a dork.

As he gets our coffee, my eyes wander back to the poetry section. It looks like there is a red book I don’t remember seeing the last time I was in. My interest is piqued by this time. I am half aware of my coffee placed in front of me, and Mr Izz sitting back down. Finally, he says “Will you just go over there and look at the damn poetry books? It would be nice to have you even somewhat interested in talking to me and you won’t be until you check them out.” I just stare at him for a minute. I have no idea where that came from…geeze. But, what the heck…I smile, jump up, say “I’ll be just a minute!:, and bound off to take a looksy. I think Mr Izz uttered “Be right back, yeah, right” but I’m not sure. By that time I was already at the poetry section. But he would have said it…he’s rude like that.

So, the poetry books are wonderful as always, but I have to see what that red book was. I find it quickly, pull it out, and…..oh my! It’s a book of selected poems and two plays by William Butler Yeats. Of course, I have to buy it. That’s a no brainer.

I skip back to the table in a jovial mood, take a sip of my coffee, and say: “See? I was only a minute. And by the way, I’m buying this book.”

“Another poetry book? Don’t you have enough of those?” Then he looks at the book itself. “I know you have at least one Yeats book! You don’t need another one! You’re starting to remind me of the Mel Gibson character in Conspiracy Theory!”

“I do not! You’re just being totally rude” I retort. I then spin on my heel and march up to the register to buy the book…making sure to throw a death glare his way as I walk. I swear, he’s nuts. I don’t have that many poetry books, and surely not tons of Yeats. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

We finish our coffee, then drive home, Mr Izz rambling on about his exams. And he says I’m obsessed. I walk into the house, give hugs and kisses hello to various Izzlets, and then proceed to put my new book with the other poetry books. Right next to my other books of Yeats’ poetry. Hmmmmm……SIGH! Oh well. I’m not saying a word to Mr Izz about this.

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!


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.


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.


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 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.

First off, what does “Literary Grave Sites” mean? No, I’m not talking about grave-sites that you find in literature…I’m talking about grave sites of literary people; poets, authors, and the like. You know, the people who write, not those that are written about, unless it’s biographical. These are the grave sites…from a literary standpoint…that I want someday to visit.

Next, I know that writing about my the top 5 graves that I want to visit seems rather morbid, and many of you more than likely don’t understand why I’d want to visit these grave sites, but rest assured I’m not too terribly mad. “Pilgrimages” of a sort are very common in this way…you go to a person’s gravesite to pay your respects and, in my case, homage. Each of the people I have listed here hold a very special place in my heart…literarily speaking. It is my hope that I am able to visit these gravesites before I am finally living in my own. So here we go…Izzy’s list of 5 literary gravesites that I want to someday see, in descending order.

5) In Arbor Hill Cemetery, in Dublin, there is a gravesite devoted to the revolutionaries of the 1916 Easter Uprising. Now, why, you might ask, would I include this in my top 5? What does it have to do with the literary world? First, if you look at my Poetry links in my blogroll, you will notice the name Joseph Mary Plunkett. His poetry is absolutely beautiful, and some of my favourites. He is buried here, along with 13 other brave men that willingly were executed in their attempt to gain freedom from the Crown.

Gravesite of the 1916 Revolutionaries

And since this is Literary grave sites, I probably should include poetry or something written by each person, right? Here is a poem that Joseph Mary Plunkett wrote for the love of his life, Grace Gifford. He wrote it on the morning of her Baptism, April 7th, 1916. And a bit more background…Joseph Mary Plunkett and Grace Gifford were wed on May 4th, 1916…only 2 hours before Joseph was executed by British forces for his role in the Easter Uprising. It is truly one of the most beautiful love stories ever…and the best part is that it’s true.

The powerful words that from my heart
Alive and throbbing leap and sing
Shall bind the dragon’s jaws apart
Or bring you back a vanished spring;
They shall unseal and seal again
The fount of wisdom’s awful flow,
So this one guerdon they shall gain
That your wild beauty still they show.

The joy of Spring leaps from your eyes,
The strength of dragons in your hair,
In your young soul we still surprise
The secret wisdom flowing there;
But never word shall speak or sing
Inadequate music where above
Your burning heart now spreads its wing
In the wild beauty of your Love.

4) In the same gravesite as Joseph Mary Plunkett, you will find Pádraic Pearse…a poet in his own right, and a wonderful one at that. Here is his poem Christmas 1915…the Christmas before the Easter Uprising. Very short, but very wonderful:

O King that was born
To set bondsmen free,

In the coming battle,
Help thy Gael!

As I stated previously, he was also buried in the gravesite that Joseph Mary Plunkett was buried, but here is his name I am assuming on the site itself (found at www.findagrave.com…and I am assuming it’s on the actual site because I have never been there, hence this post):

Pádraic Pearse’s grave marker

3) One of my literary heroines…Jane Austen. Her writings were what forged my love of English Literature. I know I’ve said it before, but I want to be Jane Austen when I grow up. Jane Austen died on July 18, 1817 at the age of 41. Two days later she was buried in Winchester Cathedral at Winchester in Hampshire, England.

Jane Austen’s gravestone

Most people know of Jane Austen’s literary works, which typically comprise of novels such as Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, but many of these same people were unaware that she was also a poet. Here is an example of her poetry, written because her friend, Martha Lloyd, could not come to visit because Mr. Best would not take her. It shows a side that wasn’t always as prevalent in her writings…her wit:

Oh! Mr. Best, you’re very bad
And all the world shall know it;
Your base behaviour shall be sung
By me, a tunefull Poet.–

You used to go to Harrowgate
Each summer as it came,
And why I pray should you refuse
To go this year the same?–

The way’s as plain, the road’s as smooth,
The Posting not increased;
You’re scarcely stouter than you were,
Not younger Sir at least.–

If e’er the waters were of use
Why now their use forego?
You may not live another year,
All’s mortal here below.–

It is your duty Mr Best
To give your health repair.
Vain else your Richard’s pills will be,
And vain your Consort’s care.

But yet a nobler Duty calls
You now towards the North.
Arise ennobled–as Escort
Of Martha Lloyd stand forth.

She wants your aid–she honours you
With a distinguished call.
Stand forth to be the friend of her
Who is the friend of all.–

Take her, and wonder at your luck,
In having such a Trust.
Her converse sensible and sweet
Will banish heat and dust.–

So short she’ll make the journey seem
You’ll bid the Chaise stand still.
T’will be like driving at full speed
From Newb’ry to Speen hill.–

Convey her safe to Morton’s wife
And I’ll forget the past,
And write some verses in your praise
As finely and as fast.

But if you still refuse to go
I’ll never let your rest,
Buy haunt you with reproachful song
Oh! wicked Mr. Best!–

Clifton 1806

2) This is one of my absolute favourites…he’s in my top 2 poets and literary authors, second only to William Butler Yeats. Oscar Wilde. One day…and you can quote me on this…I am going to get to Paris, put on my very best bright red lipstick, and add my lip marks along side of other fanatical fans. Here is a poem he wrote for Keats…called “The Grave of Keats”. It seemed rather appropriate:

RID of the world’s injustice, and his pain,
He rests at last beneath God’s veil of blue:
Taken from life when life and love were new
The youngest of the martyrs here is lain,
Fair as Sebastian, and as early slain.
No cypress shades his grave, no funeral yew,
But gentle violets weeping with the dew
Weave on his bones an ever-blossoming chain.
O proudest heart that broke for misery!
O sweetest lips since those of Mitylene!
O poet-painter of our English Land!
Thy name was writ in water——it shall stand:
And tears like mine will keep thy memory green,
As Isabella did her Basil-tree.

This picture is rather nice…I nicked it from a friend’s website of pictures. You see all those kiss marks? Uh huh….mine is going to be there. Just you wait.

Oscar Wilde’s gravesite

and last, but surely never least…

1) William Butler Yeats. His writings, by far, have to be my favourite of all time. His poetry is one of those things that inspire me to no end…whenever I’m feeling down, I just pick up a book of his writings, and lose myself for as long as the children will allow me to (which isn’t usually too long…). He is buried in Drumecliff, Co. Sligo, Ireland. I fully intend, when I do finally get to Ireland, to lay upon his grave in the hopes that some of his poetic talent will somehow magically float up to the surface and infuse itself into the creative portion of my brain.

W.B. Yeats’ gravesite

His epitaph comes from the last 3 lines of his poem, “Under Ben Bulben”…which means it’s only appropriate to quote that poem here:


Swear by what the sages spoke
Round the Mareotic Lake
That the Witch of Atlas knew,
Spoke and set the cocks a-crow.

Swear by those horsemen, by those women
Complexion and form prove superhuman,
That pale, long-visaged company
That air in immortality
Completeness of their passions won;
Now they ride the wintry dawn
Where Ben Bulben sets the scene.

Here’s the gist of what they mean.


Many times man lives and dies
Between his two eternities,
That of race and that of soul,
And ancient Ireland knew it all.
Whether man die in his bed
Or the rifle knocks him dead,
A brief parting from those dear
Is the worst man has to fear.
Though grave-diggers’ toil is long,
Sharp their spades, their muscles strong.
They but thrust their buried men
Back in the human mind again.


You that Mitchel’s prayer have heard,
‘Send war in our time, O Lord!’
Know that when all words are said
And a man is fighting mad,
Something drops from eyes long blind,
He completes his partial mind,
For an instant stands at ease,
Laughs aloud, his heart at peace.
Even the wisest man grows tense
With some sort of violence
Before he can accomplish fate,
Know his work or choose his mate.


Poet and sculptor, do the work,
Nor let the modish painter shirk
What his great forefathers did.
Bring the soul of man to God,
Make him fill the cradles right.

Measurement began our might:
Forms a stark Egyptian thought,
Forms that gentler phidias wrought.
Michael Angelo left a proof
On the Sistine Chapel roof,
Where but half-awakened Adam
Can disturb globe-trotting Madam
Till her bowels are in heat,
proof that there’s a purpose set
Before the secret working mind:
Profane perfection of mankind.

Quattrocento put in paint
On backgrounds for a God or Saint
Gardens where a soul’s at ease;
Where everything that meets the eye,
Flowers and grass and cloudless sky,
Resemble forms that are or seem
When sleepers wake and yet still dream.
And when it’s vanished still declare,
With only bed and bedstead there,
That heavens had opened.
Gyres run on;
When that greater dream had gone
Calvert and Wilson, Blake and Claude,
Prepared a rest for the people of God,
Palmer’s phrase, but after that
Confusion fell upon our thought.


Irish poets, earn your trade,
Sing whatever is well made,
Scorn the sort now growing up
All out of shape from toe to top,
Their unremembering hearts and heads
Base-born products of base beds.
Sing the peasantry, and then
Hard-riding country gentlemen,
The holiness of monks, and after
Porter-drinkers’ randy laughter;
Sing the lords and ladies gay
That were beaten into the clay
Through seven heroic centuries;
Cast your mind on other days
That we in coming days may be
Still the indomitable Irishry.


Under bare Ben Bulben’s head
In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid.
An ancestor was rector there
Long years ago, a church stands near,
By the road an ancient cross.

No marble, no conventional phrase;
On limestone quarried near the spot
By his command these words are cut:

Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!

So there you have it! Izzy’s Top 5: Literary Grave Sites. Perhaps one day, I’ll be able to chronicle when I do finally visit each of these places. But until then, I’ll just have to content myself with wishing…

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us. Of course, this turns most people’s thoughts toward “love”, and other such things. For me, as a Catholic, it has other meanings as well (if you read the life of St. Valentine, you’ll see what I mean! Not very lovely at times, that’s for sure), but I have to admit that I, too, get bitten with the bug around this time of year. But each and every year, I’m left wanting…pining away for that one thing that always seems to be missing in each profession of everlasting love; that thing that makes us all crave love in it’s most pure state. Romance.

I have come to the conclusion, after years of seeking it, that Romance is dead. Dead as a doornail (to borrow a bit of phrasing from Dickens). And what’s worse, is that most people don’t even seem to notice. How can one be content with flowers and chocolates, only to have to endure mundane verse plastered into the middle of a piece of cardboard, with your name hastily written at the top to make it seem as if it were actually written with you in mind? How can verse such as “Roses are red, violets are blue” inspire anyone toward true romance?

Not too long ago (or perhaps too long ago), Romance was alive and well, and even real men weren’t afraid to express it. Even a man’s man wouldn’t blink an eye while writing some lovely lines to the woman of his dreams. He wouldn’t hesitate to say things like “Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day?’ and the woman he loved wouldn’t hesitate to tell him “Of course you shall”. Mr. Shakespeare was quite the talent when it came to romance, if one may judge by his poetic expressions. But he’s not the only one.

Christopher Morley had this to say, in his poem “To a Post-Office Ink Well”:

HOW many humble hearts have dipped
In you, and scrawled their manuscript!
Have shared their secrets, told their cares,
Their curious and quaint affairs!

Your pool of ink, your scratchy pen,
Have moved the lives of unborn men,
And watched young people, breathing hard,
Put Heaven on a postal card.

Lovely. Simply lovely. What man in our time would even think such thoughts, let alone write about them? And how many people now would find romance from an ink well? SIGH!

Even one of the masters of horror couldn’t escape it:


by Edgar Allen Poe

I dwelt alone
In a world of moan
And my soul was a stagnant tide
Till the fair and gentle Eulalie
became my blushing bride-
Till the yellow-haired young Eulalie
became my smiling bride.

Ah, less– less bright
Are the stars of night
Than the eyes of the radiant girl!
And never a flake
That the vapor can make
With the moon-tints of purple and pearl,
Can vie with the modest Eulalie’s
most unregarded curl-
Can compare with the bright-eyed Eulalie’s
most humble and careless curl.

Now Doubt– now Pain
Come never again,
For her soul gives me sigh for sigh
And all day long
Shines, bright and strong,
Astarte within the sky,
While ever to her dear Eulalie
upturns her matron eye-
While ever to her young Eulalie
upturns her violet eye.

Who cares what’s really in that cask of Amontillado, or what lingers underneath the floorboard, when such wonderful lines exist!

But my most favorite of all has to be this one, by William Butler Yeats, called “He Wishes for the Clothes 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.

Now this is the stuff that true Romance is made of. The stuff that makes your heart sing, and your soul rejoice. It’s what makes the love that makes the world go round.

Despite the fact that this form of romance seems to be dead, I am not despairing entirely. I do have hope that one day the Poets of old will somehow lend their long lost talents to a deserving few, and we will witness the rebirth of true Romance, rising like a phoenix from the ashes. But, until then, I suppose I shall have to be content with my flowers and chocolates being accompanied by verse á la Hallmark and try bear it. I just hope that the chocolates aren’t forgotten, or else bearing it may be too much to ask.