A Quiet Day in the Writing Cafe

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned my devotion to Yeats.  It’s because of poems like The Lake Isle of Innisfree, an early poem, written in the 1890s.  It rhymes and has a regular meter and is the sort of thing you might murmur to yourself when you wake up and want nothing more than to spend the day drinking tea and thinking about what’s in “the deep heart’s core.” Here it is, number 4 of 100 favorite poems (not in any particular order): 

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 mourning 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.

13 thoughts on “A Quiet Day in the Writing Cafe

  1. What gets me is the bee-loud glade and the way the poet can hear this place, even on the roadway or on the grey pavement, which is where many of us probably are right now.

  2. I’m having a similar day. With Yeats, you just need to say the poems to yourself. I also love the Irish Airman, (I know that I shall meet my fate/Somewhere among the clouds above:/Those that I fight I do not hate,/Those that I guard I do not love.) I have a friend who writes about school recitation in the 19th century. Those were not very good poems (she has much more interesting things to say than that). If I had to pick poems to recite, I’d definitely pick Yeats.

  3. I’ve always said that this poem is where I’ll retire to. A little cottage, a little garden, a little peace, a little life. That is all we need. Great post, Bloglily

  4. Yes, it’s lovely, isn’t it. I like that: a litle cottage, a little garden, a little peace, a little life. Not too much, just enough. Slynne and Courtney — I’m glad to know others are working their way to 100. The great thing is that nobody will really know which number you’re on, so you could actually do as many poems as you want. And people will just think, gee I thought she was at 80, but it says here she’s only at 45. And they’ll be glad you’re not even close to done because there are so many wonderful poems out there.

  5. I got goose bumps reading that. It’s so beautiful. My grandmother’s family had a holiday cottage in the Cape mountains in South Africa, that was called Innisfree. Now I know why. Tragically, it burnt down, so I never saw it but the word ifself – Innisfree – echoes peace, tranquility, a haven for me. Now, thanks to you, doubly so.

  6. Charlotte, That’s a wonderful story. I wonder what the Cape mountains are like and how it felt to come to South Africa from Ireland, or England and build a cottage in the mountains for your family. One of my closest friends, Karoline, lived in Africa as a child and I love hearing what that was like. (She also has wonderful stories about being sent to boarding school in England when she was quite young.) I’ve never been to Africa, and see that someday I must.

  7. My husband studied for a year in Capetown, and is now applying for internships next summer there. If so, I’ll join him at the end of the summer. I’m hoping it works out, although I’ll miss him terribly for 2 months.
    Yeats, I think, has some of the best phrases out there…I love the idea of “moments of glad grace,” a “pilgrim soul”, “peaces comes dropping slow” ,j “an aged man is but a paltry thing” – I agree, bloglily, his poems demand to be read aloud!

  8. This was just what I needed to hear today! If you wanted to describe the opposite of the pace of my life, this poem would be perfect. Today needs to be a day for recovery and restoration after an intense week so starting it with meditating on “peace comes dropping slow” and the images and sounds of honey bees and crickets buzzing and water slowly lapping on the shore is so perfect. Thanks!

  9. Dear Courtney, I envy your husband. Doing an internship in Capetown sounds like a great experience. Thank you for those phrases. I wonder if poets ever really realize how much they get inside our heads?

    Hi Jana — I’m so glad about the day of recovery and relaxation. Every day I go over to your site to see what new piece of the bay area you’ve chosen to put in your sketchbook and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out of your day of relaxation!

  10. Lovely poem, Bloglily. I have to say I have never read any Yates. Don’t know why – just fell out of all the different reading sets and subsets I dip into. I really think I should give him a go.

  11. I’m glad you enjoyed it litlove. One nice thing about poetry (and I hope I don’t sound frivolous when I say this) is that you can take a break from reading something long and absorb a poem and go right back to your long thing. xxoo, BL

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