Dear friend, Jeanette Hooban, home from recent far-flung travels which included Ireland, sent me her picture of the birthplace of William Butler Yeats. Stunning to think that, without that humble abode, I would not have one my all-time favorite poems.
Copying it to send to Jeanette, suggesting that we two re-read Yeats in this isolate time, and write to each other about favorites, I realize – THIS is where I’d like to be in a time of microbes! Where do YOU wish YOU were?
Surely, the risk of Corona-ruin is minimal at Yeats’ Isle. Othewise, , what a way to go!
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.
Somewhere, –being deeply infused with matters Thoreauvian–, I read that Yeats wrote this about Thoreau’s year (well, two years compressed into one) at Walden. Hence the ‘nine bean rows’, which ultimately became too much for Thoreau in his haven.
This is a boat near Yeats’ paradise. Henry’s joy was boating on Walden pond, even playing his flute for the fish.