70th Anniversary of Yeats' Death

jfk2008

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Nice piece by Eileen Battersby in today's Irish Times to commemorate the 70th anniversary of W.B. Yeats' death:

IN A SMALL room in the south of France, a patient wife maintains a deathbed vigil. It is January 28th, 1939. While the world moves closer to war, the dying man struggles for breath. He is William Butler Yeats, a Nobel literature laureate and artist of defining stature. Shortly after 2pm, he will pass into eternity; his body will linger in a temporary grave in Roquebrune for more than nine years before making the final journey home to Ireland and a quiet churchyard in Co Sligo.

In life he was famous. In death he has become immortal, a national poet, an eccentric seer, whose love of country never deflected his rise as an international artist. His vision is romantic, heroic, epic. His art told his story while also shaping the identity of the nation he wanted Ireland to be. His legacy is so immense many Irish poets simply looked elsewhere. Austin Clarke and Patrick Kavanagh had their own voice, leaving the young Thomas Kinsella to battle Yeats’s ghost alone. Yeats emulated Swift’s sense of being driven by a responsibility to his country, while the first Irish writer since to share this cohesively responsible approach is playwright Brian Friel, who openly confronted the conflict in Northern Ireland while exploring the competing national cultures within Ireland. Yeats, quoted by schoolchildren and statesmen, cast a huge shadow and continues to do so...
I wonder what poems he'd write about Ireland if he was still alive today.

Anyway, here's Sailing To Byzantium in his honour:

THAT is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
- Those dying generations - at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.
 


20000miles

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Her Praise was always my favourite:

SHE is foremost of those that I would hear praised.
I have gone about the house, gone up and down
As a man does who has published a new book,
Or a young girl dressed out in her new gown,
And though I have turned the talk by hook or crook
Until her praise should be the uppermost theme,
A woman spoke of some new tale she had read,
A man confusedly in a half dream
As though some other name ran in his head.

She is foremost of those that I would hear praised.
I will talk no more of books or the long war
But walk by the dry thorn until I have found
Some beggar sheltering from the wind, and there
Manage the talk until her name come round.
If there be rags enough he will know her name
And be well pleased remembering it, for in the old days,
Though she had young men's praise and old men's blame,
Among the poor both old and young gave her praise.
 

Outlander

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I never could get my head around poetry.

At least the Yeats industry brings in some income, the chapel graveyard in sligo is the only one I know of with parking for coaches.
 

merle haggard

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no doubt he died sad not to see his fascist heroes marauding accross europe like supermen. Thankfully for us he popped his clogs before he could write a poem in praise of them .
I wouldnt compare him to Brian Friel for a minute . Friel confronted a conflict head on in his work . Yeats waited until the mid 1920s before writing his bloody awful " terrible beauty " rubbish . Which was little more than a pathetic attempt to write himself into the 1916 picture retrospectively . Did words of mine send out men the english shot ? "

no , they feckin didnt ,. Gobshoite . It was absolutely nothing to do with you , nor you it.
 

Andrew49

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Isn't there some doubt as to whose body is buried in Sligo?
 

Mr.De-Regulation

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no doubt he died sad not to see his fascist heroes marauding accross europe like supermen. Thankfully for us he popped his clogs before he could write a poem in praise of them .
He did actually write poems about it. All the men who fought for the Carlists and the Moors, were heroes.

I wouldnt compare him to Brian Friel for a minute . Friel confronted a conflict head on in his work . Yeats waited until the mid 1920s before writing his bloody awful " terrible beauty " rubbish . Which was little more than a pathetic attempt to write himself into the 1916 picture retrospectively . Did words of mine send out men the english shot ? "

no , they feckin didnt ,. Gobshoite . It was absolutely nothing to do with you , nor you it.[/QUOTE

What did you do in the 1916 rising?
 

jfk2008

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no doubt he died sad not to see his fascist heroes marauding accross europe like supermen. Thankfully for us he popped his clogs before he could write a poem in praise of them .
I wouldnt compare him to Brian Friel for a minute . Friel confronted a conflict head on in his work . Yeats waited until the mid 1920s before writing his bloody awful " terrible beauty " rubbish . Which was little more than a pathetic attempt to write himself into the 1916 picture retrospectively . Did words of mine send out men the english shot ? "

no , they feckin didnt ,. Gobshoite . It was absolutely nothing to do with you , nor you it.
That's a very utilitarian view of what poets and poetry are about.

You can't measure the greatness of a poet based on his/her politics.
 

ArtyQueing

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Not a patch on Rabbie Burns, 250 years since his birth - but a mans a man for all that
 

merle haggard

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That's a very utilitarian view of what poets and poetry are about.

You can't measure the greatness of a poet based on his/her politics.
I can if theyre a flippin uber fascist like Yeats was . A man who lost admiration for Mussolini after he started pandering to the masses ,according to yeats .

I can also make a personal judgement on a man who claimed to be a great Irish patriot and to be consumed with love for a certain lady who fought in the front line of the rising , but who didnt bother his backside lending either her or his country and fellow poets a hand when he chips were down. So much for poets being moved to grand gestures

and then wrote a patriotic poem praising the rebellion a few years after the brits pulled out of the south and it was safe to do so and not be labelled a subversive ( and where some sort of association with 1916 was the only way you were going to get on in life) A poem claiming he personally motivated them , when he hadnt , to ensure hed get written into the narrative of 1916 after the fact. By himself . Which he succeeded in doing and more often than not gets a mention whenever the rebellion is mentioned to my never ending annoyance .

Im sorry I just dont like him . Cant stand him .
 

west'sawake

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My own favourite 'the Stolen Child'

Where dips the rocky highland of sleuthwood by the lake
there lies a leafy island where flapping herons wake the drowsy water rats,
there we've hid our faery vats, bull of berries and of reddest stolen cherries.

Come away o human child to the waters and the wild......


I also love these lines, can't remember from which poem

Oh Chestnut tree great rooted blossomer
are you the leaf the blossom or the bole?
Oh Body swayed to music oh brightning glance,
how can we know the dancer from the dance?

He had so many wonderful poems. I also loved that Leaving Cert one on the Circus animals desertion, I think, perhaps the above lines are from it. It was so human, his search for truth, for beauty, for perfection. His looking back.

He had so many powerful images, symbols, the child on the mother's lap, that line 'honey of generation had betrayed', and so on.

'An aged man is but a paltry thing, a tattered coat upon a stick, unless soul clap its hands and sing and louder sing'.....
 
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My old man grew up a mile from Lissadell, the locals there viewed Yeats as a bit of an eejit. Celtic phantasmagoria is all grand when you're not struggling to feed yourself and your family from a couple of acres of poor land. I think the stories he was told by the 'Celtic peasantry' were just fed to him to humour him, or else made up as a laugh. Lovesick stalker, away with the birds, if you ask me...
 

Twin Towers

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Which was little more than a pathetic attempt to write himself into the 1916 picture retrospectively . Did words of mine send out men the english shot ? "

no , they feckin didnt ,. Gobshoite . It was absolutely nothing to do with you , nor you it.
He was referring to that play of his Cathleen ni Houlihan and "They shall be remembered forever, They shall be alive forever, They shall be speaking forever, The people shall hear them forever."

Did that play of mine send out
Certain men the English Shot?


And it probably did.

Did words of mine put too great strain
On that woman's reeling brain?
 

merle haggard

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if i had to sit through a yeats play Id probably be tempted to make someone shoot me . But thats not inspiration , its desperation . Im disappointed anyone could really think one of his plays motivated a rebellion

Lovesick stalker, away with the birds, if you ask me...
Indeed . In a different era hed be served with a non molestation order and probably end up gatecrashing the pat kenny show in a stupor.
 

sandar

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no doubt he died sad not to see his fascist heroes marauding accross europe like supermen. Thankfully for us he popped his clogs before he could write a poem in praise of them .
I wouldnt compare him to Brian Friel for a minute . Friel confronted a conflict head on in his work . Yeats waited until the mid 1920s before writing his bloody awful " terrible beauty " rubbish . Which was little more than a pathetic attempt to write himself into the 1916 picture retrospectively . Did words of mine send out men the english shot ? "

no , they feckin didnt ,. Gobshoite . It was absolutely nothing to do with you , nor you it.
Merle in 1913 he wrote 'do they not have courage equal to desire', which is asking are irish people brave enough to fight for freedom rather than just talk of it, that poem also criticises william martin murophy during the lockout, you and he had mroe in common than you think.
 

merle haggard

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he was only trying to act republican and appalled at murphy in order to score with yer wan . The fact was the man who asked Irish people were they brave enough to fight for their freedom plainly wasnt himself. He was a complete fraud .
And his play was so influential that 12 months later over 100,000 of them joined the British army to fight in one of the most pointless and stupid wars ever.
 

conservative green

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'Yeats was a poet, first, last and all the time. Not only a great poet but probably the greatest poet of this century.' - J.B. Priestley

Don't have anything to add to that.
 


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