Poetry Review: “Fascination With What’s Difficult” by W.B. Yeats

Yeats_CollectedSpring has come at last to the North Country. Warm days filled with the songs of birds are the order of the day. Our frozen hearts begin to thaw.

I have been re-reading Yeats. There was a year of my life when I read nothing but Yeats. I began by reading his Collected Poems. Then I read, in an order I no longer remember:

  • Irish Folk and Fairy Tales
  • Collected Plays
  • Mythologies
  • Autobiographies
  • Essays and Introductions
  • Visions
  • and then, Collected Poems yet again.

That was 30 years ago. I have changed. The world has changed. But Yeats remains the greatest “Modern” poet.

I open Collected Poems and pick a poem.

Enjoy!

 

Fascination With What’s Difficult
by William Butler Yeats

The fascination of what’s difficult
Has dried the sap out of my veins, and rent
Spontaneous joy and natural content
Out of my heart. There’s something ails our colt
That must, as if it had not holy blood
Nor on Olympus leaped from cloud to cloud,
Shiver under the lash, strain, sweat and jolt
As though it dragged road metal. My curse on plays
That have to be set up in fifty ways,
On the day’s war with every knave and dolt,
Theatre business, management of men.
I swear before the dawn comes round again
I’ll find the stable and pull out the bolt.

 

Listening with a pencil and my ear, these are the lines I marked:

I swear before the dawn comes round again
I’ll find the stable and pull out the bolt.

.

This short poem “encapsulates” Yeatsian metaphysics, if such a concept can be said to exist. We see familiar Yeatsian symbols/archetypes and words: rent, heart, holy blood, Olympus, curse, knave and dolt, war, disdain with commerce.

We see the ability to “play” with language with such mastery that it takes our breath away.

We see a work of true “Art” (with a capital “A”).

 

 

 

Comments

Poetry Review: “Fascination With What’s Difficult” by W.B. Yeats — 2 Comments

  1. Awesome site! I plan on visiting often. I love the variety! I linked to your site on my blog. I look forward to reading more. warmest wishes, Denise