Friday, November 07, 2008

Poetry Friday - A Bit of Yeats

It may be November, but we're in the throes of autumn here. Lush colored leaves still adorn the trees. Today I'm celebrating this gorgeous and most favorite of seasons with a bit of Yeats.
The Wild Swans at Coole
by William Butler Yeats

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty Swans.

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All's changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake's edge or pool
Delight men's eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?
The round up this week is being hosted by Ms. Mac (Jone) at Check It Out. Do stop by and take in all the wonderful poetry being shared. Before you go, be sure to check out this week's poetry stretch results. Happy poetry Friday, all!


  1. I love that poem by Yeats. it's another one that made a deep impression in my freshman year of college. His imagery is so sharp! I love these lines too:

    "Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
    Attend upon them still."

    That's how I feel watching young kids.

  2. Gorgeous poem, and yes, a gorgeous autumn this year. I think it's going to be something like 72 degrees here today!

  3. Lovely, thanks. Have you heard him read? I'll have to dig around and find some audio. It's a trip...

  4. Oh how I love Yeats! (Obvious from my banner quote, I suppose.)

  5. I love the opening lines of this Yeats poem. So Novembery!

  6. Hi Tricia,
    I almost posted this one, too! But I realized I was thinking of the geese we've heard flying overhead more than of swans :)
    Beautiful, I love Yeats.

  7. A perfect poem to usher in the fall.

  8. I enjoy Yeats now..but this poem brings back a terrible memory of my terrible misinterpretation of the poem during my final exam (eons back) in high school. the "horror, the horror" LOL...