5 Poems based on lines from W.B Yeats…
‘And I shall have some peace here, for peace comes dropping slow,’
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
Snow falls behind the glass, beyond the reflections
this window cannot see. Snow, soft as the soul;
a canvas of white fleeting purity, as pure
as that first kiss; always caught, never captured.
Slow falls the first snow as fine as feathered fragility
like that first time, as tender as it was terrifying;
the feeling of discovery, the fear of being discovered.
Slow comes the season, and we are seasonal,
and we too are seized; were we not yesterday daisies
dancing on hilltops, a spring in our step and blind
to the slope, were we not once sensory below the sun,
bonds burning along bodies bare, but now,
beneath the snow, red reigns regal, enfants eyeing
the skies; hushed and hopeful before the innocence
falls from their belief, falls like this snow, this frozen
miracle already melting hearts we’ve had to hide
from the cold and we can be cold, like the morning’s
first breath beneath the crippling clutch of winter
when his touch is too far to find.
Slow falls the snow beyond the glass, beyond the shattered
reflections of a world of riots and reactions, slow falls
the snow and I think of peace and of people parading
under its hush of hope. Snow falls and I wonder
how it would feel to have a season of slow falling peace?
‘I wander by the edge of this desolate lake where wind cries in the sledge,’
Aedh Hears the Cry of the Sedge
Is it here where the tears come to find peace
in this place of serenity?
I lay down this lake of loss,
hope for the soil to soak up the sorrow,
by the side sedge I wedge myself
up from the waste and bury all that turned base
at the bottom of this bed,
no longer sheets of cotton comfort but sludge
soon to be swept under, asunder.
Is it here where reality ripples into reflection,
the sinking illusion of what I thought to be
An impression of light and shade, now lighter,
now shadier, now just a remainder
waiting for time to submerge.
I lay down in this lake; a lough of loss,
waiting for the tide to wash over me,
waiting for the tears to dissolve within me,
waiting for time to refine me,
re-find me as buoyant instead of beaten.
‘And when white moths were on the wing, and moth-like stars were flickering out, I dropped the berry in a stream and caught a silver trout.’
The Song of Wandering Aengus
A White Wing Rising
A starlit day, on a distant shore, as if summer had sent it
swarming like a snowflake; silken wings to summon
the sunset, a white moth to raise a sweet soul departing.
And there, as a star was added, the bright moon was kissed
in berry blush as the sun settled beneath the lake
where the lost trout turned through tresses of silver dancing
and he smiled at his love, since lost, now glimmering
‘And suddenly I saw the cold and rook-delighting heaven.’
The Cold Heaven
While You were Dreaming
And as you dove through distant dreams
just beside me, you left to my centre,
I woke to the night sky splitting above me,
the stars were burning, bleeding through
the darkness as the heavens opened,
their gates no longer golden as the
rooks took flight, soaring into my fright
here in this cold night as you tossed
through thoughts and I watched mine
beating, beaten with feathers on fire,
the disparate darkness drawing delight
in my downfall, in my blindness, and you
turned in sweeping motions, your back
to me as I should have done, as I could not
and I wondered where you had wandered
as I was culled into consciousness, frozen
by the flames and shivering, were you
moving through memories we made
or making room for more to come
in other beds, in other arms, and then
befell the bodies, bound, in chains locked,
in flames crying, cursing, trying to pull
apart bonds that should have broken,
and you turned again and your arm
came over my chest and the vision
was smashed in contact, reverie
retreating but the burning continued.
And a final poem recalling his unrequited love…
Toppling his Tower
What can I lay by the feet of such beauty?
What can I offer my love on this land?
A garden of roses, omitting the thorns
with this golden ring I hold in my hand.
But a garden of roses, omitting the thorns
is barely enough to garland your grace,
so I’ll pave you a path in the finest fabric,
a velvet so sweet to mirror your face.
So I’ll pave you a path in the finest fabric,
a cloth of brocade to comfort your cares,
a daylight distraction to hold your attention
from rebels and riots that are not our affairs.
A daylight distraction to hold your attention
to paintings and poems that hang by our side
in a tower I’ll build you to keep out the cries
of a world lost to power and drunk on its pride.
In a tower I’ll build you to keep out the cries
and a lark then from the meadow I’ll borrow
so she’ll sing of the stars and the moon that is ours
as we’ll lay in arms and let love sooth the sorrow.
But restless was her soul on the call from outside,
her beauty diminished by the sounds of their cries
and one day he lost her where his paved path divided
and he cut down her roses with tears in his eyes.
I gave her the finest, the fairest and fancy,
I gave her the beating heart of this man,
but she was bound to the call of the lost and the lonely
which now I have become and therein I see her plan.
All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly. Inspired by W.B Yeats
Today is the 155th anniversary of W.B Yeats. Thanks to Jane Dougherty from Jane Dougherty Writes on WordPress for running A Month with Yeats back in 2016