Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

William Butler Yeats and Maud Gonne

Adam's Curse
We sat together at one summer's end,
That beautiful mild woman, your close friend,
And you and I, and talked of poetry.
I said, 'A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought,
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.
Better go down upon your marrow-bones
And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones
Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather;
For to articulate sweet sounds together
Is to work harder than all these, and yet
Be thought an idler by the noisy set
Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen
The martyrs call the world.'

...........And thereupon
That beautiful mild woman for whose sake
There's many a one shall find out all heartache
On finding that her voice is sweet and low
Replied, 'To be born woman is to know -
Although they do not talk of it at school -
That we must labor to be beautiful.'

I said, 'It's certain there is no fine thing
Since Adam's fall but needs much labouring.
There have been lovers who thought love should be
So much compounded of high courtesy
That they would sigh and quote with learned looks
Precedents out of beautiful old books;
Yet now it seems an idle trade enough.'

We sat grown quiet at the name of love;
We saw the last embers of daylight die,
And in the trembling blue-green of the sky
A moon, worn as if it had been a shell
Washed by time's waters as they rose and fell
About the stars and broke in days and years.

I had a thought for no one's but your ears:
That you were beautiful, and that I strove
To love you in the old high way of love;
That it had all seemed happy, and yet we'd grown
As weary-hearted as that hollow moon.

--William Butler Yeats


  1. Happy Valentine's to you, too, sweet Elizabeth. I am thinking of Sophie, I am thinking of you and all of yours.

  2. Oh, I've been thinking of you this morning,
    reading some of your older posts.
    sending love in abundance on this Love day.

    love to all of you, Elizabeth

  3. perfect choice. happy valentine´s day dear.

  4. The best thing about friends is growing from knowing them. Thanks for today's post, and all the others too. Hope you all have a lovely day.

  5. You know this is one of my favorite poems and you, one of my favorite people. Thank you and thank you for the morning greetings, it does the spirit good to drink from the same water...

  6. What a beautiful love poem. Happy Valentine's Day to you, too, dear friend. XOXO

  7. "I hear it in the deep heart's core." W. B. Y.

  8. Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours!

  9. Happy Valentines to you. I was just reading over a few of your recent posts. You are such a great thinker and conveyer of ideas. Bravo. -Maribeth

  10. Hi Elizabeth, apropos to your comment at Hill Country Mysteries... I'll admit, no champagne at breakfast.

    But the day isn't over--for either of us--and I'm going to have a glass while we fix dinner. Then I'm going to dip some strawberries in chocolate for dessert. For a sugar-free fix, maybe top some Greek yogurt with strawberries?

    And I forgot to tell you that I loved the idea of Valentines being Sophie's day because of the saint. I thought about her when I woke up this morning. Hope her day was good.

  11. What a creative Valentine's post. So beautifully unique, like you. Happy Valetine's Day.

  12. It's the ending of that poem that gets me every time.



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