Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, William B.!

I subscribe to The Writer's Almanac program. I don't especially like Garrison Keilor, but I do enjoy having a poem read to me every morning. When I miss the radio broadcast, it's nice to read the poem myself when I get to work and log in to my email there.

So today when I logged in at work, I discovered that it is the anniversary of William Butler Yeats' birthday. I am very fond of Yeats' poetry, and these are three of my favorites, so I wanted to share them with you. I found a volume of Yeats' poetry in my Dad's books when I went through his library after his death 10 years ago, and though I'm sorry we never discussed these poems it pleases me to think that we may have shared some of the same enjoyment in these words.

A Drinking Song

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That's all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.

He wishes for the Cloths 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.

Never give all the heart

Never give all the heart, for love
Will hardly seem worth thinking of
To passionate women if it seem
Certain, and they never dream
That it fades out from kiss to kiss;
For everything that's lovely is
But a brief, dreamy, kind delight.
O never give the heart outright,
For they, for all smooth lips can say,
Have given their hearts up to the play.
And who could play it well enough
If deaf and dumb and blind with love?
He that made this knows all the cost,
For he gave all his heart and lost.

"A Drinking Song" by William Butler Yeats, Public Domain.
"He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" by W.B. Yeats, Public Domain.
"Never give all the heart" by W.B. Yeats, Public Domain.

If you would like to read more about the life of WBY, you can visit the Writer's Almanac site for today by clicking this link. This program is also available as a podcast!

3 comments:

Carolyn said...

I, too, have subscribed to The Writers Almanac ever since you told me about the email version, and when I read the Yeats poems, I knew immediately that they would be favorites of yours. In a month when I barely have time to scratch, let alone converse for pleasure, the moment of thinking of you was almost as good as a little visit. :)

Knitman said...

Thank you for your kind comment on my blog.

I would be in heaven at your place. what beautiful yarns and weaving stuff. My other half would be very grateful I do not have room for a weaving loom and I couldn't use one anyway with my physical probs. Oh but I would love to.

Jo at Celtic Memory Yarns said...

How lovely to find a spinner and weaver who likes Yeats! My favourites are:

When you are old and grey and full of sleep...

and, of course,

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made...