A Month With Yeats: Day Thirty

This is the last day of this tremendous poetry marathon that I have so much enjoyed. I’m already looking back on it with nostalgia. To finish, I couldn’t resist another line from ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’.

“And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,” —W.B. Yeats

 

After the winter, peace

 

Veils of morning and evening fall about this place,

This pile of stones and plaster we call home for a space,

Where willows bow and poplars dance with wild green grace.

There will be peace in the hollows where rests the hare,

Hidden in slanting grass stalks from the midday glare,

And shade to fill the valley where the shy deer dare.

But first comes winter, fleet and wolf-jawed, to crack stones,

And iron is the earth where lie silent bones on bones,

And bare boles, moss moist and cold, are our only thrones.

A Month With Yeats: Day Twenty-Nine

Coming to the end of the month with a quote that opens up a lot of possibilities. This one is from ‘No Second Troy’.

‘Why, what could she have done, being what she is?

Was there another Troy for her to burn?’—W.B. Yeats

 

He denies his love herself

 

She was headstrong and proud, they said,

Too fiery for the peaceful life

Of house and children in her skirts,

The tender mother, attentive wife.

He thought he’d mould her to his will,

Because he had decided so,

In her grace and beauty saw a mate

And when with sorry smile she told him no,

Blamed her cold heart and ill-starred fate,

That drenched the fires in his heart.

He never looked into those eyes,

And saw a wild deer poised to dart,

A hawk take wing into the light,

Or brave alone the dark and starry night.

A Month With Yeats: Day Twenty-Eight

Another quote from the poem ‘He Mourns for the Change That Has Come Upon Him And His Beloved, And Longs For The End Of The World’

 

‘I would that the Boar without bristles had come from the West

And had rooted the sun and moon and stars out of the sky’ —W.B. Yeats

 

When the fires in the east meet the storms in the west

 

When the fires in the east meet the storms in the west,

When north and south join bloody hands across the water,

When there is no light to see by day, through veils of fog,

When the carcasses pile high amid the slaughter,

When black Morrígu caws and nothing stops her cry,

There is no rhyme, no valid reason why

I should not turn my eyes in fury to the sky

And shout, let the blood tide rise; let all things die.

A Month with Yeats: Day Twenty-Seven

Today’s quote, chosen to coincide with birthdays and celebrations, is the opening to Yeats’ lovely poem, “A Prayer for my Daughter’.

 

‘Once more the storm is howling, and half hid

Under this cradle-hood and coverlid

My child sleeps on.’ —W.B. Yeats

 

Hopes for a child

 

There is a path for you, oh child of mine,

That only you will ever find,

Though we have held your hand on your first steps.

And shown you bearings, strong, compassionate and kind.

There may be stars and moons along the way,

There will certainly be sorrows, broken dreams,

And heartaches with no cure but fading layers of time.

I have no cloak that shields, with brave advice hidden in the seams,

Being of the kind who wandered here and there,

And never found the door, was never bold

Enough to force it open, or the secret of success.

But my hand you will always have, to comfort and to hold,

For though you find your wings, you will never be too old.

A Month with Yeats: Day Twenty-Three

Today’s quote is from ‘He Wishes His Beloved Were Dead’.

‘…your hair was bound and wound

About the stars and moon and sun:’—W.B. Yeats

 

Growing Old

 

No matter how old we grow, how deep the furrows

Carved in the delicate lines of once-soft skin,

How thin the hair and threaded through with age,

Hoar-frosted strands and the dull ache of joints,

No matter how many miles between your fingers’ touch

And the whispered breath that lifts the hair above my ear,

You are here, bound to me with the strings of my heart,

With the gold and the bright, laughing green shoots of spring.

A Month with Yeats : Day Twenty-Two

Internet has flickered on so here is today’s quote from ‘He Hears the Cry of the Sedge’.

 

‘I wander by the edge
Of this desolate lake
Where wind cries in the sedge:’ —W.B. Yeats

 

By the shallow waters of the lake

 

There is more beauty in this empty land,

Than in the city full of garish light,

And the noise of lives lived with ferocious joy,

The eternal hum and drone of never night.

I wade the shallow waters of the lake,

Hear ancient voices sigh in wind-bent sedge,

Where birds whose hearts are older far than we,

Fear not to balance on the world’s dim edge,

Where blue and gold lights, dawn and evening blend,

Where sorrow fades and all things have an end.

A Month with Yeats: Day Twenty-One

The quote for today is from ‘The Ragged Wood’. I have used it as inspiration for the Secret Keeper’s weekly writing challenge, to include the words:

HIGH | CHECK | COLOR | DOWN | KEY

 

‘…by water among the trees
The delicate-stepping stag and his lady sigh’ —W.B. Yeats

 

He calls his love home from the hill

 

High on the hill, the white hind stands,

She pauses before she leaves the deep trees,

She watches the sky and she tastes the sound

Of the colours of leaves drifting in the breeze.

Down she bounds where the grass is lush,

In the meadow bright where the stream runs by,

But she stops before she leaps the bank,

For a song drifts down from the hill so high.

‘Come home, come home,’ the rough voice calls,

To the wind, the sky and the rushing stream,

And the hind in an instant remembers his face,

And the name that she thought was only a dream.

So poised for flight she turns her head,

His name, his face, the curse she sees,

The woman she was tries to find her voice,

Though the song in its falling fills her with unease.

Her heart full of sadness she leaps the bright stream,

For the song that she hears is in the wrong key,

It tells her, as into the forest she melts,

That from her enchantment she’ll never be free.

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,’ —W.B. Yeats

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

 

The stuff the sky is made of

 

I’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.

I’d hang it round our shoulders both,

A mantle ’gainst the winter snows

And all the hurts the years will bring.

I’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.

A Month with Yeats: Day Sixteen

As promised, today’s quote has been bumped up the list to correspond with the poem I wrote yesterday—one of the perks of running the challenge. We often see deer at the bottom near the stream or along the hedge to the west, but yesterday, a young male deer trotted right under the window of the study. I felt honoured. They are timid, keep well away from houses and usually bolt at the slightest sound or movement. He must have felt he had nothing to fear from us.

I’m linking this to the dverse open link night because I like it.

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From ‘He Mourns for the Change That Has Come Upon Him and Longs for the End of the World’

‘Do you not hear me calling, white deer with no horns?’—W.B. Yeats

 

The deer in the meadow

 

In the mists of early morning,

The frost lay on the ground,

And the songbirds in the garden

Flew by without a sound.

 

As I watched the mist light swirling

On the meadow, frosty pale,

A deer, horns newly budded,

Stepped through the broken veil.

 

He stepped across the meadow,

His ears he turned to hear,

If the sound of my sighing,

Was a sound that he should fear.

 

He stepped up to my window,

With eyes so wild and deep,

As the sea that covers your bed,

Leaving me alone to weep.

A Month with Yeats: Day Fifteen

We are half-way through our month with the poetry of W.B. Yeats, and so many good poems have come out of it so far!

Today’s quote is from the ‘The Rose of Battle’.

‘You, too, have come where the dim tides are hurled
Upon the wharves of sorrow, and heard ring
The bell that calls us on; the sweet far thing.’ —W.B. Yeats

 

Listening for night music

It is dark in this place though the sun shines,

Bleak as a harrowed and harrowing sea,

We watch for the glimmer of moonlight,

For the false daylight glitter we flee.

The shadows too sharp in the morning,

Too flat with no depth, let us roam

In the twilight of dusk and of dawning,

With the furtive folk hurrying home.

We watch for the kindness of darkness,

Listen for that far, singing phrase

Of the music the fair ones are making,

And will make to the end of our days.