Thursday, April 29, 2010

Poem in a Pocket Day

April is Poetry Month, and today is Poem in a Pocket Day. Here's the poem that I have folded in my pocket -- and when I read it aloud to my boys, they rolled their eyes and told me to stop it. When I read it to Sophie, she said MMMMM. Girl of my heart.

Sailing to Byzantium

THAT is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
- Those dying generations - at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

-- William Butler Yeats


  1. Thank you for sharing a Yeats poem. Keep that one in your pocket for a long time! My first time here...nice place!

  2. Today I kept Mary Oliver,as I often do. Both in my pocket and in my heart - that is getting a bit crowded these days ;)

  3. So beautiful. I'm going to look up one of my favorites to share with've inspired me!

  4. You remind me that I need to read more poetry.

  5. We've been without cable,
    I've been without moments,
    but I knew where to come when I found enough of each.

    thank you , Elizabeth.



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