Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Song of Wandering Aengus (W.B. Yeats)

I’ve been meaning to do a post on this, my favourite poem for a while. By post I mean copy and paste it in here just to let readers enjoy. It was a poem I said on stage for a local talent competition many a moon ago, my English teacher having recommended it to me as one of the most beautiful things he had ever read. I cannot argue with that point. Then a shorter time ago, my first weeks in UL I was incredibly uncertain of my decision to go there to do my post-grad. Walking to the library I spotted the large stone slab welcoming people to UL had two lines of text on the back of it – which were in fact the last two lines of this poem. These are the most beautiful lines I have ever read, that may be a symptom of not having read enough poetry, I choose to believe I was very lucky to have discovered it. For that day at least I had a soothing feeling that everything would work out. The poem reads like a piece of music, so simple yet laden with inspiration from the Gods and mythology. Enjoy.

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 turned to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one 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.

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