A Month with Yeats: Day Seventeen

I intended to choose lines that weren’t the most obvious, but it’s impossible not to pick something from ‘Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven’.

‘The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,’ โ€”W.B. Yeats

My poem (written this morning; I’m getting behind) is another almost-sonnet.


The stuff the sky is made of


Iโ€™d take the stuff the sky is made of,

Weave it through with spangled night,

Where stars and wisps of cloud are caught,

Embroider it with tangled light,

With threads of gold and palest rose.

Iโ€™d hang it round our shoulders both,

A mantle โ€™gainst the winter snows

And all the hurts the years will bring.

Iโ€™d line it with the softest down,

And all the songs that birds can sing,

With salt tang blown in from the sea,

The apple blossom scent of spring,

So these elusive dreams we thought had fled,

Will rise like morning mist where our feet tread.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

66 thoughts on “A Month with Yeats: Day Seventeen”

    1. One reason I didn’t want to use the very famous poems. The images are so strong and so familiar it’s hard to use them in any other way. I’m glad you liked my version ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you! Yeats is the poet whose work I love the most, so I suppose it’s normal I find inspiration from his words. Once the idea is there, it’s just the details that need fiddling with, so yes, an hour just about covers it.

      1. Thank you. It’s a question I’ve often asked myselfโ€”can this be a good poem if it hasn’t taken a week of soul-searching and discarded draughts to write? I suppose it should just say what you want it to say, and good or bad, is for others to judge.

      2. And it depends on lots of factors, our inspiration, mood, concentration and so on. Sometimes it takes us ages to complete sth you’d otherwise finish in an hour.
        Since I’m not a poet, it sounds pretty amazing to me. But then, all of the above applies to me when writing for my post.

      3. I agree. The only people who can sit down with a stop watch and churn out a set number of words are those who write to a formula. I don’t see the point of just writing words so you can say, wow, I wrote 10000 words today, aren’t I a great writer? if 9999 words of it are crap.

    1. Ha ha! All the poetry we amateurs write is ‘almost’ a poem. I’m not sure when we evolve into true poets. Maybe when we feel confident enough to dispense with the ‘almost’.

      1. What is the definition of professional poet? One who earn his/her livelihood by writing poetry? I don’t see that happening in the near future (unless of course I do win the Nobel Prize).

      1. Yes, we learn a lot from the wrong roads we’ve taken. When you erase it, you end up on the same road (as history has shown us again and again…)

  1. Just keep writing it’s fun says it all really, whether it’s how you make your living or just sitting down each morning to put down that overnight dream. “I will arise and go now”

    1. You said it. I don’t know how it feels to make a living at it, must be different to just writing for the hell of it, but I can’t believe it’s any more rewarding except in a pecuniary way. See you is Innishfree ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. “The muse is mute when public men
        Applaud a modern throne:
        Those cheers that can be bought or sold,
        That office fools have run,
        That waxen seal, that signature.
        For things like these what decent man
        Would keep his lover waiting,
        Keep his lover waiting”

        “A Model for the Laureate”

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