The Swans: Yeats Challenge, Day 22

I’ve been busy getting ready for Thanksgiving. Wishing all of those who celebrate the holiday a very Happy Thanksgiving. 

This is for Jane’s A Month with Yeats Challenge. Today’s quotation:

 “I wander by the edge
Of this desolate lake
Where wind cries in the sedge:” —W.B. Yeats

 

I wandered by the shadowed lake,

desolate it seemed at first,

till a swan glided there and took

a sip to slake his thirst.

Soon after that, his mate sailed to him,

the two swam side-by-side

a lover’s dance, in evening dim

across the lakeside wide,

but with moonlight the sky turned brighter

together then, they spread their wings and gracefully took flight.

Their feathered bodies seemed larger and whiter

against the blanket of indigo night,

and though I’ve traveled, often far,

this is the memory that comforts me

when hope seems lost to faultless stars

I think of the swans on that moonlit night–and I feel free.

Schwaene_im_Schilf_(C_D_Friedrich)

Caspar David Friedrich, “Swans in the Reeds,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Caspar David Friedrich, “Swans in the Reeds,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

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The Deer: Yeats Challenge Shadorma, Day 21

A Shadorma for Eliot’s November Shadorma Challenge and Jane’s A Month with Yeats Challenge. 

Today’s quotation:

“..by water among the trees
The delicate-stepping stag and his lady sigh” —W.B. Yeats

 

stag and doe

over golden leaves

side by side

they travel

at dusk, searching, wandering–

sighing, find a home

 

 

Marc_-_Hirsche

Franz Marc [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

The Race: Yeats Challenge

This is for Jane’s A Month with Yeats Challenge.  Sorry for so many posts today. I’m doing them while I get a chance before I’m back to projects and before Thanksgiving.

This quote is from “The Old Age of Queen Maeve.”

“out of the dark air over her head there came
A murmur of soft words and meeting lips.”—W.B. Yeats

 

Once she was young and fair of face,

she lived life as if it were a race

where she was the brightest and fastest, and before it stopped

she would need to make it to the top.

But now she was confined to a castle tower

so far in time from her bridal bower

and instead of those who loved her well,

it was to her a sort of hell

with only servants and guards who gaped and glowered.

And so, she sat, and sometimes she’d spin,

sometimes ponder, or wonder about her sins

(of which she thought there were many

but as with her life, far from ordinary.)

Of late she had begun to tire,

become very cold, even before the fire,

she thought sometimes her husband, her lover,

was there in the night, his spirit would hover

as if to say, soon, though not today

once again, you’ll dance and sway

in my arms—we’ll be together,

it will be like yesterday

when you were young and fair of face,

but you’ll no longer be running in the race,

a few nights later he came for her,

took her hand and opened a door

the glowering servants saw a faint glimmer

that grew bright, then dimmer in the night

and she was gone, to dance in the starlight.

 

Ford_Madox_Brown_-_Convalescent_-_Portrait_of_Emma_Madox_Brown

Ford Madox Brown, “Convalescent: Portrait of Emma Madox Brown,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Vision in the Night: Yeats Challenge, Day Nineteen

This is for Jane’s A Month with Yeats Poetry Challenge, Day Nineteen.

Today’s quotation:

“We who still labour by the cromlech on the shore,

The grey cairn on the hill, when day sinks drowned in dew,

Being weary of the world’s empires, bow down to you,

Master of the still stars and of the flaming door.”—W.B. Yeats

 

This was going to be a triolet, but it isn’t.  🙂

 

A Vision in the Night

She had a vision in the night

saw by the cairns there was such peace

in utter darkness, shone a light,

stars sang there, they scarcely ceased,

though by the cairns there was such peace

and shadows lingered out of sight

 

Looking up at fiery stars

from high above the shore she stared

wondered if a door opened there

where people dared and peace was shared

from high above the shore she stared,

thought peace lived there beyond the stars

Józef_Chełmoński_-_Noc_gwiaździsta (1)

Józef Marian Chełmoński [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Dream Goddess–Yeats Challenge, Day 18

This is for Jane’s A Month of Yeats Poetry Challenge, Day Eighteen. 

Today’s quotation: 

“The dews drop slowly and dreams gather;” —W.B. Yeats

 

She gathered dreams like berries in a basket,

grasped them, sorted them, sweet and tart,

an art,

matching dreams to dreamers,

sending them to lovers and schemers

some fragrant and ripe, like the fruit

but that wouldn’t suit,

not everyone.

Some dreams were like the fruit for jam or pies

mixed together, cooked, filled with hints of other things, or lies,

or perhaps words for the wise—

sometimes she even prophesized.

She went about her task with thoroughness,

not obsessed or oppressed,

it simply was her endeavor

she existed always and forever.

 

Luis_López_Y_Piquer_-_The_Goddess_Juno_in_the_House_of_Dreams_-_WGA13453

 

 

 

 

 

Dream Time, Past and Future: Yeats Challenge, Day 17

This is for Jane’s A Month with Yeats, Day Seventeen. 

Today’s quotation:

“The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,” —W.B. Yeats

 

They sailed on a journey of three years times three

through a cloth of darkness in a starless night sea.

They moved through fog, as if in a dream

and later couldn’t remember what they had seen.

Time passed quickly or slow, they weren’t sure or didn’t know

how to measure it here, nor where they’d go

when they would get there, or where that would be

or if stars would appear in the starless night sea

were they the first people or were they the last,

they existed in a dream time, future and past.

 

The_Future_Began_Here

A Day in the Forest: Yeats Challenge

I didn’t get my Yeats Challenge post up yesterday, so here’s Day Sixteen. I’m also linking it to Dverse’s Open Link Night.  

Jane chose this quotation for Day Sixteen:

“Do you not hear me calling, white deer with no horns?”—W.B. Yeats

 

At dawn the robin sings to greet the coming of the day,

the sun rises then in golden glow to brightly light the way,

across the sky, excited geese soar high in V formation

honking directions and chattering in winged conversations.

 

Young lovers meander in noontime explorations,

declaring their love in breathless exclamations,

taking breaks from work or school for this, a secret tryst,

holding hands, then coming closer, sharing their first kiss.

 

Later, the young white deer gambols in the gloaming

still young without his horns, carefree in his roaming,

but never too far does he wander from his mother’s side

bleating to her when he is scared, listening for her replies.

 

The owl spreads her wings, takes flight in the blackness of the night

she hoots from a branch to tell her mate that everything is right,

nocturnal creatures flit and scurry under the humming moon,

and in an upstairs room, we sleep, dreaming to the tune.

 

Franz_Marc_-_Deer_in_the_Forest_I_-_Google_Art_Project

Franz Marc, “Deer in the Forest,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Lovers: Yeats Challenge, Day Fifteen

This poem is for Jane’s A Month with Yeats, Day Fifteen.

Today’s quotation:

“You, too, have come where the dim tides are hurled
Upon the wharves of sorrow, and heard ring
The bell that calls us on; the sweet far thing.” —W.B. Yeats

 

And so, he came to where the dim tides flow

here upon the wharves of sorrow, dared to go,

listened now for Charon’s boat, the slapping sound of weathered pole

the echoing cries of distant weary souls.

 

But entered he without a fear, played sweetly then upon his lyre

the music that filled the air was warm with sighs and filled with fire

because here within this shadowed world, his love did dwell

playing sweetly then, he cast a spell.

 

The underworld king, his captured queen looked from their gilded thrones,

agreeing that he should not be left bereft of love, nor kept lonely and alone

for such love and devotion, such tumult of emotion he had displayed

crossing over the ocean of darkness, from lighted world to constant shade.

 

They thus agreed, from the underworld she could go,

but promises he must willingly keep to make it happen so–

she would follow him from this hidden world, behind him there she’d be

not once though could he stop to look or see

 

Once round the cavernous steps went he

believing that there behind him, his love would be,

twice round and then up they went, closer to the world of light

when he, not believing she was there, turned to catch a sight

 

Instantly, from Hades he was then thrust out

for not trusting the gods, for having his doubts,

but Aphrodite prevailed to place the lovers’ souls amidst the stars,

traveling the sky as shimmering silvered cars

where like a bell their love now rings,

in music of the stars, the sweet far thing.

 

Jean-Baptiste-Camille_Corot_-_Orphée

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, “Orpheus Leading Eurydice from the Underworld,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love and Glory: Yeats Challenge, Day Fourteen

This is for Jane’s A Month with Yeats Challenge. Today’s quotation is:

“That you, in the dim coming times,
May know how my heart went with them
After the red-rose-bordered hem.” —W.B. Yeats

 

As a boy he saw them there,

she in white, with flowers in her hair,

he a soldier, a handsome young man,

he saw them thus, and so it began.

 

He held this image through his life,

he’d go to war, and have a wife,

who’d say farewell in sunlight gold

and they’d continue, till they were old.

 

He never saw the bloodstained shirt,

the man lying wounded in the dirt,

the woman who traded her white for black,

on lifelong dreams she turned her back.

 

The boy envisioned a life of glory,

King and country, the same old story,

but finally there with gun in hand,

at last he came to understand.

 

Camille_Clere_Verwundet

Camille Clère (1825-1918) (Düsseldorfer Auktionshaus) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

When in Doubt, Sing or Shout: Yeats Challenge, Day Thirteen

So, this poem was going to be something else, but it decided to be this. A bit of fun then, and perhaps a hint of Into the Woods for Jane’s A Month with Yeats Poetry Challenge, Day Thirteen. Here’s today’s quotation:

“Away, come away:

Empty your heart of its mortal dream.”

–W. B. Yeats

 

She ran for hours–or a day

ran off the path to far away

ran from the wrath of the angry queen

ran to the canopy of forest green.

 

Who knows why the queen was in a choler

but angry she was, and heard to holler

for the girl to be whipped, or maybe dead

and so, the girl had run, had turned and fled

 

Finally, when she could run no more

she stopped there, where she’d never been before

and wandered then from the wooded lane

why—she never quite could explain.

 

As though through a door, she walked inside

the air shimmered here, yet she unterrified

of colors brighter, and nothing as it seemed,

a voice said, “empty your heart of its mortal dream.”

 

Before her stood a fairy prince,

or so she thought from her very quick glimpse,

to him she said, “really sir, if it’s all the same

I rather return from whence I came.”

 

Then not really certain of how a fairy to fight,

she sang quite loudly with all her might

and with her song he was beguiled

and surprising her, he stood and smiled.

 

“I’d not keep you here against your will

Why look at you, a child you’re still,

Though because your voice is sweet and pure

I’ll escort you out from our magic door.”

 

And so, the girl went back out into the wood

gathered her wits, as best she could,

ran far away back to the queen,

whose anger had passed, now nowhere to be seen.

 

Be careful then if from the woods you wander,

be careful first, and stop to ponder

if you have the wherewithal to sing or scream

if ever asked by fairy prince to give up your mortal dreams.

 

 

Cover_image_from_from_The_Princess_and_the_Goblins_-_by_George_MacDonald,_illustrated_by_Jessie_Willcox_Smith,_1920