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Friday, August 19, 2005

William Butler Yeats

The Song of Wandering Aengus

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 aflame,
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.

William Butler Yeats

Believe it or not, I had never read any Yeats until about 3 years ago. Being that Yeats was white and male made him a persona non grata of sorts in my local school system. Not to say no white, male author was ever read, just that they were greatly outnumbered by what the census calls minorities. I didn't read Yeats outside of school, either. As far as poetry goes, I'm more an Emily Dickinson/Robert Frost sort of person. My introduction to Yeats was courtesy of the now-canceled Star Trek: Enterprise. (Sometimes TV is educational, I suppose.) Come now, this is no revelation, I've admitted before to being a Trekkie.

Anyway, in one episode Scott Bakula quotes Yeats' The Song of the Wandering Aengus. I had never heard of it and, although I didn't know the title or author, I looked and found it on the internet. I think it is a very simple, yet beautiful poem. I also enjoy When You Are Old, The Second Coming, and Brown Penny. The part I like best of The Second Coming is this:
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.
The couple behind my favorite conservative film blog, Libertas, must like it too because they quoted it today.


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