Friday, January 26, 2007

A Little Poetry for You: Yeats

Susan's got the round-up today over at Chicken Spaghetti.

For Poetry Friday, I offer this from Yeats. It is both simple and lovely. Easy to understand and yet not simplistic. And now that I've listened to the audio clips below, I can imagine how Yeats might read this poem himself.

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
William Butler Yeats

HAD I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
Want to hear Yeats' thoughts on how hard it is to get his ideas into poetry? Here's a short audio on that topic. Pretty funny and just a little self-righteous.

Here is a brief lecture Yeats gave on the BBC in 1936, in which he talks about Edith Sitwell and T. S. Eliot, war and modernism. It's interesting to hear how Yeats spoke. Good stuff.


Jone said...

I love Yeats. Thanks for sharing.

Kelly Fineman said...

Ah Nan -- good one. I love Yeats, even if he was a bit of an oddball in his real life. And he sounded positively affected (and a bit curmudgeonly) in that first audio clip. He reminded me very much of the scene from Singing in the Rain where Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor go to elocution classes, and say such things as "Around the rocks the rugged rascal ran" (while rolling their Rs, of course).

Elaine Magliaro said...

Good post, Nancy!

Stidmama said...

Wow. Hearing his phrasing and pronunciation makes his poetry seem more alive to me. Now I can imagine how it sounded to him as he wrote. Thanks.

Nancy said...

I love finding the audio now! With the Yeats, it really makes a difference to hear him talk about how important he considers the exact sound of his poetry.

Michele said...

I love this poem - the first time I heard it was in the film of 84, Charing Cross Road recited by the lovely Anthony Hopkins... Now it's always his voice I hear in my head when I read it...

Nancy said...

Ooh, Michele, that's where I'd heard it before, of course.

Michele said...

Well there you go, Nancy !