By W.B. Yeats
We sat together at one summer’s end,
That beautiful mild woman, your close friend,
And you and I, and talked of poetry.
I said, ‘A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought,
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.
Better go down upon your marrow-bones
And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones
Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather;
For to articulate sweet sounds together
Is to work harder than all these, and yet
Be thought an idler by the noisy set
Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen
The martyrs call the world.’
. . . . . . . . . And thereupon
That beautiful mild woman for whose sake
There’s many a one shall find out all heartache
On finding that her voice is sweet and low
Replied, ‘To be born woman is to know-
Although they do not talk of it at school-
That we must labour to be beautiful.’
I said, ‘It’s certain there is no fine thing
Since Adam’s fall but needs much labouring.
There have been lovers who thought love should be
So much compounded of high courtesy
That they would sigh and quote with learned looks
Precedents out of beautiful old books;
Yet now it seems an idle trade enough.’
We sat grown quiet at the name of love;
We saw the last embers of daylight die,
And in the trembling blue-green of the sky
A moon, worn as if it had been a shell
Washed by time’s waters as they rose and fell
About the stars and broke in days and years.
I had a thought for no one’s but your ears:
That you were beautiful, and that I strove
To love you in the old high way of love;
That it had all seemed happy, and yet we’d grown
As weary-hearted as that hollow moon.
A few Irish poets’ work for St. Patrick’s Day.
I attended a talk on Irish traditions and culture at my library not too long ago. One thing I learned, and rejoiced in learning since I don’t like the taste, was that you shouldn’t eat corn beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day if you want to honor or experience Irish culture.
When the Irish immigrated to the US during the Potato Famine, they were poor. The only food they could afford was corn beef. So eat lamb or pork, which Irish typically ate in Irish.
I learned from this website that corned beef was eaten by kings as a way to drive the “demon of gluttony” out of his belly. As someone who doesn’t like the taste of corn beef and cabbage, I understand how that ancient practice could work.
BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS
I made my song a coat
Covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat;
But the fools caught it,
Wore it in the world’s eyes
As though they’d wrought it.
Song, let them take it
For there’s more enterprise
In walking naked.
Never give all the Heart
By William Butler Yeats
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.
love is more thicker than forget
love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail
it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea
love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive
it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky
By Philip Larkin
In trains we need not choose our company
For all the logic of departure is
That recognition is suspended; we
Are islanded in unawareness, as
Our minds reach out to where we want to be.
But carried thus impersonally on,
We hardly see that person opposite
Who, if we only knew it, might be one
Who, far more than the other waiting at
Some distant place, knows our true destination.
I’ve no green beer or Shamrock shakes, though there is a parade in Shanghai. I am celebrating though by watching the marvelous Secret of Kells available on hulu.com. Check it out.