Monday, March 7, 2011

A Poem for You

A few lines from the greatest poet to write English amid the ruin we refer to as the twentieth century.

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 a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone 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

Admittedly, this poem, written when he was scarcely 30, is emblematic of the early romantic period some scoff at.

I rather like it.

Besides, even minor Yeats is better than most anything else.

Where does it go, you think? That which dwindles, into air?

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