Last Monday we featured Christy Moore singing Yeats’ poem “The Song of Wandering Aengus.” This week we are going in a completely different musical direction: punk legend Shane MacGowan reciting Yeats’ familiar “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death.”
For those unfamiliar with MacGowan, he was the front man for Irish punk band The Pogues – one of my all-time favorite groups. He brings a punk energy and most of all a punk anger to his recitation that I love… that I think Yeats would have like as well.
On a rainy Monday morning. The marriage of MacGowan and Yeats seems like just the thing.
An Irish Airman Foresees His Death
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;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.