RETURN TO Carry On Tuesday

Saturday 12 June 2010

Carry On Tuesday # 57

WHEN you are old and grey and full of sleep 

William Butler Yeats

WHEN you are old and grey and full of sleep
  And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
  And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
  And loved your beauty with love false or true;
  But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
 Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
 And paced upon the mountains overhead,
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

William Butler Yeats 1865 - 1939

It is impossible to imagine 20th-century Irish literature without William Butler Yeats. He was an instrumental part of the “Irish Literary Revival” that redefined Irish writing. He came to prominence during a tumultuous period in his country’s history, and the idea of an independent Irish identity was crucial to Yeats’s work as a poet. In addition to his extensive and varied volumes of poetry.

Yeats also wrote for the theatre. He helped form a theatrical collective that led to the founding of the legendary Abbey Theatre, whose mission was to refocus drama on the plays themselves. Throughout his long career, Yeats influenced countless generations of dramatists and poets, including American writer Ezra Pound. Early in his career.

Yeats was heavily influenced by other poets such as William Blake and Percy Shelley. The latter’s Prometheus Unbound was among Yeats’s favourite works. In his youth, Yeats and some other poets formed the Rhymer’s Club. The group was an open forum for reading new works, and they eventually published several volumes of poetry.

One of Yeats’s longest works is The Wanderings of Oisin, an epic poem based in Irish mythology that took two years to finish.

Yeats’s A Vision was a collaborative work created with his wife Georgie. The writings are a result of decoded messages channelled from the spirit world.

In 1923 Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize for his poetry, helping draw international attention to the Irish literary boom.