Click On Title To Link To YouTube's Film Clip Of A Reading Of William Butler Yeats' Homage To The Lads Of 1916- "Easter 1916".
This is the 93rd Anniversary of the Irish Easter Uprising-
BELOW ARE TWO FAMOUS POEMS BY THE ANGLO-IRISH POET WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS-CHOCKY AR LA
I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
That woman's days were spent
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers
When, young and beautiful,
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school
And rode our winged horse;
This other his helper and friend
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
A terrible beauty is born.
Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road,
The rider, the birds that range
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute they change;
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
And a horse plashes within it;
The long-legged moor-hens dive,
And hens to moor-cocks call;
Minute by minute they live:
The stone's in the midst of all.
Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven's part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse -
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born. 80
September 25, 1916
Sixteen Dead Men
O but we talked at large before
The sixteen men were shot,
But who can talk of give and take,
What should be and what not
While those dead men are loitering there
To stir the boiling pot?
You say that we should still the land
Till Germany's overcome;
But who is there to argue that
Now Pearse is deaf and dumb?
And is there logic to outweigh
MacDonagh's bony thumb?
How could you dream they'd listen
That have an ear alone
For those new comrades they have found,
Lord Edward and Wolfe Tone,
Or meddle with our give and take
That converse bone to bone?
Songwriter's Corner- Spain 1936- The Irish Connection
I have spilled no small amount of ink, and gladly, writing about the heroic military role of those Americans who fought in the American-led Abraham Lincoln Battalion of 15th International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War. The song "Viva La Quince Brigada" can apply to those of other nationalities who fought bravely for the Republican side in that conflict. Here's a take from the Irish perspective. Note the name Frank Ryan included here, a real hero of that operation.
Viva La Quince Brigada
Ten years before I saw the light of morning
A comradeship of heroes was laid.
From every corner of the world came sailing
The Fifteenth International Brigade.
They came to stand beside the Spanish people.
To try and stem the rising Fascist tide
Franco's allies were the powerful and wealthy,
Frank Ryan's men came from the other side.
Even the olives were bleeding
As the battle for Madrid it thundered on.
Truth and love against the force af evil,
Brotherhood against the Fascist clan.
Vive La Quince Brigada!
"No Paseran" the pledge that made them fight.
"Adelante" was the cry around the hillside.
Let us all remember them tonight.
Bob Hillard was a Church of Ireland pastor;
From Killarney across the Pyrenees ho came.
From Derry came a brave young Christian Brother.
Side by side they fought and died in Spain.
Tommy Woods, aged seventeen, died in Cordoba.
With Na Fianna he learned to hold his gun.
From Dublin to the Villa del Rio
Where he fought and died beneath the Spanish sun.
Many Irishmen heard the call of Franco.
Joined Hitler and Mussolini too.
Propaganda from the pulpit and newspapers
Helped O'Duffy to enlist his crew.
The word came from Maynooth: 'Support the Fascists.'
The men of cloth failed yet again
When the bishops blessed the blueshirts in Dun Laoghaire
As they sailed beneath the swastika to Spain.
This song is a tribute to Frank Ryan.
Kit Conway and Dinny Coady too.
Peter Daly, Charlie Regan and Hugh Bonar.
Though many died I can but name a few.
Danny Doyle, Blaser-Brown and Charlie Donnelly.
Liam Tumilson and Jim Straney from the Falls.
Jack Nally, Tommy Patton and Frank Conroy,
Jim Foley, Tony Fox and Dick O'Neill.
Written in 1983
Copyright Christy Moore
Here are a couple more Yeats classics.
THE SECOND COMING
by: W. B. Yeats (1865-1939)
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;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
"The Second Coming" is reprinted from Michael Robartes and the Dancer. W.B. Yeats. New York: Macmillan, 1921.
ON A POLITICAL PRISONER
by: W. B. Yeats (1865-1939)
HE that but little patience knew,
From childhood on, had now so much
A grey gull lost its fear and flew
Down to her cell and there alit,
And there endured her fingers' touch
And from her fingers ate its bit.
Did she in touching that lone wing
Recall the years before her mind
Became a bitter, an abstract thing,
Her thought some popular enmity:
Blind and leader of the blind
Drinking the foul ditch where they lie?
When long ago I saw her ride
Under Ben Bulben to the meet,
The beauty of her country-side
With all youth's lonely wildness stirred,
She seemed to have grown clean and sweet
Like any rock-bred, sea-borne bird:
Sea-borne, or balanced in the air
When first it sprang out of the nest
Upon some lofty rock to stare
Upon the cloudy canopy,
While under its storm-beaten breast
Cried out the hollows of the sea.
"On a Political Prisoner" is reprinted from Michael Robartes and the Dancer. W.B. Yeats. New York: Macmillan, 1921.