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On The Birthday Of W B Yeats, A Reflection...

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THE LAKE ISLE OF INNISFREE



I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
 
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.


Of all Yeats' poems, this antidote to homesickness is the most quoted and seems to resonate with the widest audience. It is said he was striding along London's hectic Fleet Street when he heard the silvery tinkling of water. There, in a shop window, he caught sight of a little fountain with a crystal ball bobbing atop its jet. A yearning for the lakes of the Emerald Isle overwhelmed him. His imagination conjured the gentle lap of waves echoing the rhythms of the heart’s core.
 
The diverting complexities of urban life can be difficult to process.  We speak of the energy of the city, how it may inspire and drive. We do not speak of aridity and distraction, how it lures us away from resolution and the eternity within where we may commune with the earth and the cleansing vibrations of nature, our Creator’s gift.
 
This poem hums with resolution. Whether it is of the spirit, or actual, as was the case with Henry Thoreau, does not matter. The source of the water, the reviving balm, is tapped.


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Saturday, 20 July 2024

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