The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats by W.B. Yeats

The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats

The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats includes all of the poems authorized by Yeats for inclusion in his standard canon. Breathtaking in range, it encompasses the entire arc of his career, from luminous reworking of ancient Irish myths and legends to passionate meditations on the demands and rewards of youth and old age, from exquisite, occasionally whimsical songs of love, n...

Title:The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats
Author:
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ISBN:0684807319
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:544 pages

The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats Reviews

  • Szplug

    Not everything in here works for me, but Yeats is never less than a pleasure to read. As others have remarked upon, he's what one might describe as a

    : his rhythmic structure and rhymes flow off of the reading tongue—and at his best, he cannot be touched for the ariose beauty of his lyrical genius.

    Not everything in here works for me, but Yeats is never less than a pleasure to read. As others have remarked upon, he's what one might describe as a

    : his rhythmic structure and rhymes flow off of the reading tongue—and at his best, he cannot be touched for the ariose beauty of his lyrical genius.

    One of my favourites below, a lengthy verse that captures the very essence of disillusion amidst the wreckage of an apparent bounty of promise and progression. Yeats rises to the heights yet wielding the language of ash and benightment; no paens to the fey primordiality of Eire here, but rather poesy shaped with withering power:

  • Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats (The Collected Works of W.B. Yeats #1), W.B. Yeats, Richard J. Finneran (Editor)

    To a child dancing in the wind

    Dance there upon the shore;

    What need have you to care

    For wind or water's roar?

    And tumble out your hair

    That the salt drops have wet;

    Being young you have not known

    The fool's triumph, nor yet

    Love lost as soon as won

    Nor the best labourer dead

    And all the sheaves to bind

    What need have you to dread

    The monstrous crying of the wind?

    تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و نهم

    The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats (The Collected Works of W.B. Yeats #1), W.B. Yeats, Richard J. Finneran (Editor)

    To a child dancing in the wind

    Dance there upon the shore;

    What need have you to care

    For wind or water's roar?

    And tumble out your hair

    That the salt drops have wet;

    Being young you have not known

    The fool's triumph, nor yet

    Love lost as soon as won

    Nor the best labourer dead

    And all the sheaves to bind

    What need have you to dread

    The monstrous crying of the wind?

    تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و نهم آگوست سال 2013 میلادی

  • Lisa

    "For books continue each other, in spite of our habit of judging them separately."

    This quote from Virginia Woolf’s

    comes to my mind when I sit down to have a closer look at one of my favourite poets. For it wasn’t Yeats I was searching for when I went through my shelves today. It was

    , Chinua Achebe’s classic novel. Seeing Yeats in the shelf, however, I remembered that the title is from his famous poem “The Second Coming”, and I opened the earmarked poetry c

    "For books continue each other, in spite of our habit of judging them separately."

    This quote from Virginia Woolf’s

    comes to my mind when I sit down to have a closer look at one of my favourite poets. For it wasn’t Yeats I was searching for when I went through my shelves today. It was

    , Chinua Achebe’s classic novel. Seeing Yeats in the shelf, however, I remembered that the title is from his famous poem “The Second Coming”, and I opened the earmarked poetry collection, full of post-its and comments. And sure enough, there was a pink post-it showing the way to the lines I wanted:

    “Turning and turning in the widening gyre

    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

    Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold,

    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;...”

    Knowing the story of Things Fall Apart, it makes my heart break to think of the proud falcon in his natural habitat, suddenly threatened by the falconer with his sly methods and superior weapons, killing out of pleasure - a careless sportsmanship. This story in my mind takes a leap to present times, seeing it is still just as relevant, in many places, and I am mourning the contemporary falcon’s lost spirit in a world of falconers, destroying things because they can. The centre cannot hold.

    Reading on, I get curious to see where all my sticky notes indicate that my attention was sharpened, and of course, I find my handwriting next to a poem on a young man going to war. How could I not, reading this the last time in conjunction with

    ?

    “An Irish Airman Foresees his Death

    I know that I shall meet my fate

    Somewhere among the clouds above;

    Those that I fight I do not hate,

    Those that I guard I do not love;

    [...]”

    The sad truth of World War I, best expressed maybe in poetry or novels like

    . And as a counterpoint, with a sticky note in a different colour:

    “On Being Asked For A War Poem

    I think it better that in times like these

    A poet’s mouth be silent, for in truth

    We have no gift to set a statesman right;

    He has had enough of meddling who can please

    A young girl in the indolence of her youth,

    Or an old man upon a winter’s night.”

    I remember pondering on the conundrum of accepting these lines as perfect truth while also being grateful that Yeats had not remained silent after all, that he had expressed his thoughts over and over again, in dramatic, long, narrative poems and short, lyrical ones, in stories of common people and kings and queens, in real-life poems and fairy tales. He had not been silent at all, but he resisted the command to produce poetry for politicians, to shout out the ancient heroic ideal “dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” before sending soldiers to living hell.

    He wrote his own truth, and that of the island he loved and the culture he cherished. To review all his poems, and make them justice, would be a life time’s work. My favourite love poem is to be found in his collection as well:

    “When You are Old

    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.”

    I can’t read that often enough. “The pilgrim soul in you” sends a shiver down my spine every single time. Before I close the collection, my eye catches a poem that is not earmarked yet, that I must have read without thinking much about it last time. But now, it yells out its truth to me in a disturbing way:

    “Why should not Old Men be Mad?”

    Why should not old men be mad?

    Some have known a likely lad

    That had a sound fly-fisher’s wrist

    Turn to a drunken journalist;

    A girl that knew all Dante once

    Live to bear children to a dunce;

    A Helen of social welfare dream

    Climb on a wagonette and scream.

    Some think it a matter of course that chance

    Should starve good men and bad advance,

    That if their neighbours figured plain,

    As though upon a lighted screen,

    No single story would they find

    Of an unbroken happy mind,

    A finish worthy of the start.

    Young men know nothing of this sort,

    Observant old men know it well;

    And when they know what old books tell,

    And that no better can be had,

    Know why an old man should be mad.”

    It may be a sign of me getting older that I identify more and more with the disillusion of experience, but at the same time, reading poetry like this makes me feel passionately involved in life still!

    Yeats is a timeless treat!


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