2015 marks 150 years since the birth of Irish poet W.B.Yeats and last night I was able to meet the man through his poems, READ ALOUD & presented by The Josephine Hart Poetry Hour at The British Library.
The readers were Dublin man, Bob Geldof (Band Aid, Live Aid), Irish actress Lisa Dwan & the lovely deep, mellow, moving voice of Patrick Kennedy (films: War Horse, Atonement; TV: Parades End, Downton Abbey.)
Naturally Yeats’ life is echoed forcefully in his poems with Irish charm, honesty, beauty & a resonating realism – from a childhood of folklore came a ‘surrealist imagination;’
to love ‘when a soul is lost to a woman all is lost’, thus inspiring some of the greatest love poetry… ‘Never Give all the Heart,’ ‘O Do Not Love Too Long,’ (unreciprocated love had quite an effect):
‘Wine comes in at the mouth
Love comes in at the eye…
I lift the glass to my mouth
I look at you and sigh.’
…to politics and Irish nationalism (he was a romantic and poetical advocate)
and then facing old age, he matured as a poet; ‘maturing as a whole man…out of his intense experiences, expressing universal truths, he served his art with an entire integrity.’ Spoke T.S.Eliot.
‘When you are old and grey and full of sleep, and nodding by the fire…’
William Butler Yeats seems to me a great, passionate man who would write a line, a verse, an elegy, a poem, always something so fitting for anyone and everyone to understand. The chances are at some point in your life, this man will not ‘pass you by.’