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TWO POEMS ABOUT YEATS: “THE YEATS BRONZE” and “A YEATS SONNET FOR 2015”

09 Apr

YEATSBRONZE

(Not everyone is familiar with the Yeats sculpture in his Sligo hometown and much about Yeats is still not generally known or understood. The following two poems address that. For other Yeats and Irish poetry related material on this blog see below after the Notes)

THE YEATS BRONZE

Poet of Erin, mystic, seer,
Once out of life you did not take
Your form from any natural shape [1]
Byzantium’s bronze and smithy’s art
Were put to work as gongs still
Tolled and heavily for another soul
Crossed over its tormented sea. [2]
And thus a transformation could begin
So terrible beauty might be born.
One of two arms was wholly lost,
Your legs grew Daddy-long-legs long
Your noble head and large became
More like a smaller serpent’s crown
Atop a torso bent and spread
And curved and also wide as though
A lettered cobra would shoot forth    [3]
Before a house of Paudeen’s pence [4]
To challenge crass materialism
Or even prod dull Ulster into song…[5]
If such were possible from between
The narrow lips not frozen quite to fangs
Upon this mask of an inhuman shade,
Near relative to the serpent’s clan [6]
Still all a-twist within the turning gyres
Of ages, life and death and knowledge of
The Lucifer’s future son. Who’s like
To God if following your magic name
It’s good and evil are the same. [7]

So…all visitors and devotees beware,
And noble Horseman (if you still exist)
Pass by and soon, where not a cross
Offends memorials nor any pagan soil
On which may drive the reckless motorist
Prone to crash [8] or Hades worms make way
Through western winding mummy cloths. [9]

 

A YEATS SONNET FOR 2015

YEATSOLD

At once a nation’s father and its child
Through verse and essay, drama, myth
You spoke and wrote, recorded and restyled
A people’s soul made safe against the scythe
Of time well fortified by dream and vision.
And yet you were distracted half your life
By women, two quite to the devil given  [1]
Another, prey to spirits, was your wife.
But then your magic wish and ritual
Was for a new messiah and holy land
To arise from Erin, not from Israel.       [2]
That dawn proved difficult to command.
With age you grew resigned to mask and bluff.
You were great, but not quite great enough.

NOTES FOR THE YEATS BRONZE

[1] “Once out of nature I shall never take/My bodily form from any natural thing, Sailing to Byzantium

[2] “That dolphin torn, that gong tormented sea”. Byzantium  The idea is that in the mythic, archetypal, spiritual Byzantium a gong announces the transition of each new soul to the other side.

[3] Yeats’ hood like torso has words from his poems inscribed across it.

[4] “A House of Paudeen’s Pence” – a bank. The reference is to words of the first two lines of To a Wealthy Man Who Promised a Subscription to The Dublin Municipal Gallery if it were proved the People Wanted Pictures. The Yeats bronze by Rowan Gillespie stands in front of a Sligo Bank.

[5] The Sligo bank happens to be the Ulster Bank as though the sculpture was challenging lack of Ulster colour and patriotic attachment to greater Ireland.

[6] Serpent’s clan – a bit severe but it’s an odd  that a)  in Yeats’ much consulted horoscope a modern reading shows his Mars conjunct Viper and Mars rules sculpture and sculpture has rendered him serpentine if not quite a viper and b) since anyway Mars is also sex connected for especially males, Yeats’ attempt to have astral sex with Maud Gonne got stalled when she alleged he appeared to her as a snake.

[7] Yeats’ name in the Society of the Golden Dawn was DEDI or Demon est Deus Inversus. (God is the demon or devil inverted). This reflected his belief in the need for the coming age of the child of the Mother by Set or Satan or Lucifer who unifies the opposites. Various scholars like Dionysius Psilopoulos, Yeats and the Chthonic Esoteric Tradition and Susan Johnston-Graf W.B.Yeats: A Twentieth Century Magus have stressed a hidden, darker side of Yeats’ beliefs and involvements which as in my essay Secret Yeats and the Hidden Arcana are further backed up by some unexpected, striking astrology related information. See http://bit.ly/1jt9zOH

[8] Yeats’ valedictory Under Ben Bulben poem tells the horseman to pass by and refuses any conventional religious phrase to be associated with his churchyard grave which has no cross either. His sympathies were sufficiently pagan or anti-Christian for the local bishop to have doubts whether he should have a Christian burial,  “Prone to crash”. In  2005 a car crashed into the first version of the sculpture.

[9] “Shade more than man, more image than a shade:/
For Hades’ bobbin bound in mummy-cloth” Yeats’ Byzantium. The mummy cloth imagery is thought to be associated with western religious iconography especially the tradition of St Veronica’s napkin. Yeats’ Byzantium imagery owes more to  impressions of Sicily’s the late Byzantine art than the Byzantium/Istanbul region as such.

NOTES FOR A YEATS SONNET IN 2015

[1] Yeats was life long obsessed with Maud Gonne who admitted to selling her soul to the devil in her youth while his first mistress, Olivia Shakespear, “hated Christ like the devil” according to Ezra Pound, while according to the poet-mystic AE she lived in rooms populated by yellow devils that intimidated him.

[2] Yeats, a magician of The Society of the Golden Dawn, performed rituals to return the gods to Ireland and make it the new holy land. His anti Christian position is well represented by the play The Resurrection.

OTHER BLOG FEATURES RELATED TO YEATS AND IRISH POETRY

Why Ireland Needs Yeats 2015 and More  http://goo.gl/T3AUV9

Secret Yeats and the Hidden Arcana  http://bit.ly/1jt9zOH

Under Parnassus: An Under Ben Bulben Variation http://bit.ly/1wdsnwa

Judas Stopped at Dublin: A Poem of Spiritual Pollution and Ablution for 2015  http://goo.gl/HZZPU2

Remembering Seamus Heaney  http://bit.ly/1bcMbRf  

Kevin Kiely Against the Seamus Heaney Cult   http://bit.ly/1nkNoNd

POETRY ON MCCLEARY’S ALTERNATIVES and MCCLEARY’S ADDITIONS

There is now a wide range of poetry on these blogs but note that also available in You Tube video is

Coming To Syracuse, a mini epic recorded in 6 parts beginning here : http://goo.gl/49wJww

 

 

 

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2 Comments

Posted by on April 9, 2015 in Poetry

 

2 responses to “TWO POEMS ABOUT YEATS: “THE YEATS BRONZE” and “A YEATS SONNET FOR 2015”

  1. TruthSeeker

    April 10, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Reblogged this on truthcking and commented:
    I had no idea how into the Dark Side Yeats was! Such a shame considering that I loved his poems especially, “Down by the Salley Gardens” and “When you are Old”

     
  2. TruthSeeker

    April 10, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Had no idea that Yeats was into the evil dark side of the occult. Very creepy and disconcerting, especially since I was found of a couple of his poems: “Down by the Salley Gardens” and “When you are old”.

    My mother was born and raised in Ireland and later England. She introduced me to the love of poetry and literature. Yeats poems did strike a intensely bittersweet melancholy in me. Not sure how entirely healthy that was, thank G-d, I had a love for slap stick comedy or I would have maybe killed myself out of despair or depression.

    Love your poems, Rollan! So good to see the art of poetry is not dead or suicide provoking either!

    The cobra/serpentine imagery is so creepy! How amazing is it the astrology nails it once again!

    Really remarkable, thank you for sharing this!

     

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