A Month with Yeats: Day Twenty-Six

Today’s quote is from ‘The White Birds’.

‘I would that we were, my beloved, white birds on the foam of the sea!’ W.B. Yeats

 

This deep earth calls

 

The winter earth is cold, clay clings colder,

Each day the sun fails more, the year is older,

This earth of ours seeps into our blood,

Its heavy tribute of too many lives

That never flourished from the first green bud.

Deep down, it holds us, with the broken rocks

And twisted roots of trees long dead and fallen,

The twisted bones of unknown dead and fallen,

It holds us twisted in its clay-cold locks.

What good to wish for wings, gull white and grey

The air is empty; this clay is where we’ll stay.

A Month with Yeats: Day Twenty-Five

From the lovely ‘Song of Wandering Aengus’. In keeping with the mystical tone of the Yeats poem, my own wanders into the realm of myth too.

 

‘And when white moths were on the wing,

And moth-like stars were flickering out,

I dropped the berry in a stream

And caught a little silver trout.’—W.B. Yeats

 

No more sorrows

 

The dawn is coming, then perhaps the spring,

Though stars still shine as bright as jeweller’s stones,

And no one knows what joy the light will bring

Or sorrows, scattered blood drops in the snow,

When the dream is ended, the water cleared.

Along the moonlit path, frost winter-deep,

Raven feathers lie, and berry blood,

And from the stars that slip now into sleep,

I hear the story of another dream,

And cast a wish into the rushing stream,

To keep my white-skinned love, hair dark as night,

Not watch his blood stain red the winter white.

A Month with Yeats: Day Twenty-four

Today’s quote is from ‘Easter, 1916’.

‘We know their dream; enough

To know they dreamed and are dead; ‘ —W.B. Yeats ‘

 

For the unsung heroes

 

This facility we have, to look away,

To blame the parents and their lack of care,

To call it shiftless what is deep despair,

To keep it all, for we have none to spare,

Lets us pluck the best fruits from the tree,

Complacently, and fill the basket to the brim.

Yet all this opulence was dearly bought

By those who gave their lives, not on a whim,

Left in a puddle on some lonely road,

Or in the squalor of a prison yard,

For a cause that they could not ignore.

Nor turn away because it was too hard.

Do they see our fattened comfort where they bide,

And weep when misery is brushed aside?

A Month with Yeats: Day Twenty

This quote is from ‘The Old Age of Queen Maeve’.

‘out of the dark air over her head there came
A murmur of soft words and meeting lips.’—W.B. Yeats

 

She remembers what she has lost

 

There are some nights, like velvet, summer soft,

Or crisp and winter cold and full of stars,

When memories come crowding, golden motes,

As tender as the petals on the rose.

But like the roses fallen on the ground,

They fade away and leave without a sound.

A Month with Yeats: Day Nineteen

Today’s quote is a second one from ‘The Valley of the Black Pig’.

 

‘We who still labour by the cromlech on the shore,

The grey cairn on the hill, when day sinks drowned in dew,

Being weary of the world’s empires, bow down to you,

Master of the still stars and of the flaming door.’—W.B. Yeats

 

Turning Back the Black Tide

 

We have followed those who brandished weapons high,

A sword, a cross, a curse, a death dark threat,

And waded through their rising blood red tide,

And holy peace has never fallen yet.

We have watched them build their monuments to death,

And wept at banners spread in poppy rain,

Our stones and trees abandoned on the hill,

Among the ashes of our stories wild, profane.

Perhaps when sunset’s light begins to fade,

On the crumbling ruins of cold glory lost,

We will seek the quiet path our elders trod,

And light a fire in this creeping frost.

A Month with Yeats: Day Eighteen

The quote for today is one of two I’ve chosen from Yeats’ apocalyptic poem, ‘The Valley of the Black Pig.’ My poem is a 17 minute one for those who are counting 🙂 Still behind.

‘The dews drop slowly and dreams gather;’ —W.B. Yeats

 

Dark dew drops

 

Is this the dark time of the year,

The time for hiding from the growing cold,

The stirring of the primal fear,

The sun is dead and we are growing old?

And is this silver mantle on the field,

The frosted cloud that clings to every blade,

The same dew summer mornings yield,

The same that moistens every quiet glade?

Why the sadness then, the huddling round the fire’s blaze,

When heaven’s splendour spreads before our trembling gaze?