Irish

Today I feel it is necessary to do some “compare and contrast” in the wake of recent St. Patrick’s Day revelations. To begin, here’s a lovely poem by William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939). He has been called one of the “most distinguished poets of the early twentieth century, fusing elements of his Irish heritage with a modern temperament to create moving, well-wrought verse.” Let’s just see about that, shall we?

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

It’s lovely, isn’t it? A vision of pastoral peace and splendor. Wouldn’t you love to live on Innisfree? So quiet with nothing but the lap of the water on the shore and the buzz of the honey bees and cricket songs. Yeats really is a good poet! Here’s a picture of Innisfree for you to daydream over:

"I will arise and go now..."

And now we shall compare and contrast Yeats vision of being Irish to the modern Irish dream (at least as it manifests here in the City of Big Shoulders). Instead of a lovely lake with a wooded and secluded island, we have a nice green river.

Emerald green Chicago River with Wendella Boat near the DuSable Bridge (Michigan Avenue) on St. Patrick's Day 2012.

He talks of a small clay cabin — we have some mighty fine skyscrapers here.

How nice that Yeats will plant nine rows of beans! In Chicago, we neatly pile our garbage near the proper receptacles.

Chicagoan are a tidy lot, especially on Irish holidays.

He will have a hive for the honey bee. And we have a honey of a statue.

Our giant Marilyn.

The midnight’s on Innisfree are all a glimmer — our Trump Tower glimmers too.

In honor of The Donald

Yeats speaks of linnet’s wings; they are sweet little finchy birds with pretty songs, mostly brown but with patches of red on their heads and breasts. In Chicago, we have a lot of chicks with green feathers.

A poet may be able to live alone in a bee-loud glade, but here in our town, folks fall in love and propose marriage even in the midst of the madding crowd. And that’s a blessing!

"Will you be my wife?" I had tears streaming down my feathery cheeks!

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bunn
    Mar 21, 2012 @ 10:31:15

    Wow what a perfect comparison!!

    Reply

    • Natalie
      Mar 22, 2012 @ 09:57:14

      Thanks sissy poo. I love compare and contrast, prolly because when we were children, people were always comparing how much fun you were and how I was a boring book worm…

      Reply

  2. Dianna
    Mar 21, 2012 @ 12:17:33

    That is a beautiful poem; brings back memories of my English Lit class (which I loved).
    Wow – I’m not believing that garbage pile!

    I would have been crying, too, had I witnessed that proposal!

    Reply

    • Natalie
      Mar 22, 2012 @ 09:58:55

      Dianna, the young man was sooooo sincere and they had love all over their faces. She was soooo surprised with his proposal and the HUGE diamond ring he gave her. It was such a moment — I’ll never forget.

      Reply

  3. Three Well Beings
    Mar 22, 2012 @ 07:45:11

    Oh how clever you are! I love this! I didn’t know about the giant Marilyn statue! That’s a great little tourist picture spot, I’m sure. The green river, and oh yes, the piled-hight and on the ground trash. Looks like there was an organization to that pile one doesn’t always see! Loved the poem…and a great comparison! Debra

    Reply

    • Natalie
      Mar 22, 2012 @ 10:00:27

      Thank you Debra! When we go downtown, it’s always an adventure. I’m not sure how long Marilyn is staying, but folks sure do love her. I’ve witnessed many an old timer stand under her skirt and look up…

      Reply

  4. yearstricken
    Mar 22, 2012 @ 17:45:49

    I love Yeats’ poem. Lovely.

    How sweet that you that captured that proposal.

    Reply

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