I wrote this poem after months of studying Yeats' work and life for my undergrad thesis. One night, I found a BBC recording of him reading "The Lake Isle of Innisfree." I finally got to hear the voice I had been reading for so long and the moment took my breath away. This poem resulted from that experience.

Listening

You broke the silence
of eighty years
in five winter moments,

caressing my cheek
with each syllable
that dripped from the air.

Death unraveled
in seconds.
The horseman couldn't pass you by
without bringing you -
veins still full of lore and liquid -
into my February.

Pale flesh crept over your milky bones
and there you were,
proud,
tall,
young,
your voice aching with passion,
like a woman whispering
her lover's name to her god.

Without a touch

you led me out of the nest
I had built from strands of verses
and piles of thoughts,
ushering me down the path
you fashioned a century ago.

In your voice
I found echoes of Tir Na Nog,
of an outsider,
of a rebellion.

In our own way,
we both belonged here.

Without touching,

eighty years fell away,
and we met
in a moment as fragile as a breath.

Views: 210

Tags: Leitrim, Literature, Poetry, Sligo, Yeats, innisfree


Gaeilgeoir
Comment by Ryan O'Rourke on August 25, 2014 at 12:03pm

Very nice, Jill.  Thanks for sharing it with us.

Comment by Gerry Regan on August 26, 2014 at 7:20am

Jill, I enjoyed this verse. GRMA. is that recording available online? Might we share the link here. Have you visited sites associated with Yeats in Ireland?

Comment by Jill Fuller on August 26, 2014 at 6:43pm

Thank you Ryan and Gerry. Here is the recording. It's haunting. Hope you enjoy.

And yes, on my last visit to Ireland we visited his grave at Drumcliff and I (accidentally but serendipitously) wandered into an exhibit on Yeats at the National Library. I was able to see many of his original manuscripts... and I'm not ashamed to say I wept. We also stopped at Thoor Ballylee but it was closed due to flooding... so we just wandered around, enjoying the beautiful day before having a picnic at Coole Park.

Comment by Jean Sullivan Cardinal on August 27, 2014 at 1:16pm

Thank you, beautiful poem.


Admin
Comment by Fran Reddy on August 29, 2014 at 2:22pm

Wow Jill, very interesting! Loved it!

Comment by John M. Ongena on September 1, 2014 at 8:54am

Your verses touched and opened by past contact with W.B. and his writings, thank you.

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