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W. B. Yeats

♣  William Butler Yeats  ⇐[1865-1939]
⇓ ‘Down by the Salley Gardens’←[song]

•→ ‘The Salley Gardens’ (arranged by Benjamin Britten); voice = Yves Saelens

⇓  “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. 

♦  An excerpt from the Poetry Hour homage to Josephine Hart 18 Sept 2012 at the Irish College Paris Star readers Sinéad Cusack, Marianne Faithfull, Bob Geldof, Charlotte Rampling pay tribute to Josephine Hart who died in 2011 ↓

01 – He wishes for the cloths of heaven.

02 – Down by the Sally Gardens.

03 – Lake Isle of Innisfree.

04 – The Stolen Child  ⇓

♦  Gavin Friday reads at the National Library Of Ireland  ⇓  [30/06/2010]

 + Martin Hayes (Violin) + Dennis Cahill (Guitar)

•  “September 1913” 

WHAT need you, being come to sense,
But fumble in a greasy till
And add the halfpence to the pence
And prayer to shivering prayer, until
You have dried the marrow from the bone;          5
For men were born to pray and save:
Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,
It’s with O’Leary in the grave.
Yet they were of a different kind
The names that stilled your childish play,   10
They have gone about the world like wind,
But little time had they to pray
For whom the hangman’s rope was spun,
And what, God help us, could they save:
Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,   15
It’s with O’Leary in the grave.
Was it for this the wild geese spread
The grey wing upon every tide;
For this that all that blood was shed,
For this Edward Fitzgerald died,   20
And Robert Emmet and Wolfe Tone,
All that delirium of the brave;
Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,
It’s with O’Leary in the grave.
Yet could we turn the years again,   25
And call those exiles as they were,
In all their loneliness and pain
You’d cry ‘Some woman’s yellow hair
Has maddened every mother’s son’:
They weighed so lightly what they gave,   30
But let them be, they’re dead and gone,
They’re with O’Leary in the grave.

•  “To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing”  ↑

Now all the truth is out,
Be secret and take defeat
From any brazen throat,
For how can you compete,
Being honor bred, with one
Who were it proved he lies
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbors’ eyes;
Bred to a harder thing
Than Triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Whereon mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known
That is most difficult.
•  “To Ireland In The Coming Times”  (excerpt)
KNOW, that I would accounted be
True brother of a company
That sang, to sweeten Ireland’s wrong,
Ballad and story, rann and song;
Nor be I any less of them,
Because the red-rose-bordered hem
Of her, whose history began
Before God made the angelic clan,
Trails all about the written page.
When Time began to rant and rage
The measure of her flying feet
Made Ireland’s heart begin to beat . . .
◊  “All Things Can Tempt Me”  ↓

ALL things can tempt me from this craft of verse:
One time it was a woman’s face, or worse —
The seeming needs of my fool-driven land;
Now nothing but comes readier to the hand
Than this accustomed toil.  When I was young,
I had not given a penny for a song
Did not the poet Sing it with such airs
That one believed he had a sword upstairs;
Yet would be now, could I but have my wish,
Colder and dumber and deafer than a fish.

♣  ‘The fiddler of Dooney ‘↓  [by Sean Doyle]

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 Moharabuiee.   
 
I passed my brother and cousin:           5
They read in their books of prayer; 
but 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,           10
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      15
And the merry love to dance:   
 
And when the folk there spy me, 
They will all come up to me, 
Singing  ‘Here is the fiddler of Dooney!’ 
And dance like a wave of the sea.       20
♣  ‘The Second Coming’  ↓ [read by Ted Hughes]

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
 
    Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
 
    The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
♦→  “The Cloths of Heaven”  ↓  (by Harvey Keitel)

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.

•→‘Sailing to Byzantium’
♣  ‘The Song Of Wandering Aengus’  ↓  [by Philip Leitch Donovan]

I Went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;

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.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

•→ The Lake Isle of Innisfree ←[read by the poet]

♦  ‘A Drunken Man’s praise of Sobriety’  ⇓  [Elvis Costello]

COME swish around, my pretty punk,
And keep me dancing still
That I may stay a sober man
Although I drink my fill.

Sobriety is a jewel
That I do much adore;
And therefore keep me dancing
While drunkards lie and snore.

O mind your feet, O mind your feet,
Keep dancing like a wave,
And under every dancer
A dead man in his grave.

No ups and downs, my pretty,
A mermaid, not a punk;
A drunkard is a dead man,
And all dead men are drunk.

♦→ ‘Before The World Was Made’  ⇓

Van Morrison adds some verses of his own. For the original poem, listen to Carla Bruni

If I make the lashes dark
And the eyes more bright
And your lips more scarlet,
Ask if all be right
And it’s mirror after mirror,
No vanity’s displayed:
You’re just looking for the face you had
Before the world was made…

And if I look upon you now
As though I own my view
With the earth beneath your feet
And the heaven up above

Would you think me cruel
After everything’s been said
You’re only looking for the face you had
Before the world was made …

And if I paint the lashes dark . . .

♣  An Irish Airman Forsees His Death  ↓  [Shane MacGowan]

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.

•→“Brown Penny”  ⇐[recited by Christopher Plummer]
♣  “When You Are Old”  ↓  [read by Colin Farrell]

11 comments to W. B. Yeats

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