Niamh Clune

Environment, poetry, comment, children's books,

The Wednesday Poetry Corner With Eabha Rose

We have a real treat for you today on the plum tree. Eabha Rose is an Irish narrative artist with a beautiful voice. In her Wednesday Corner, she features one of my favourite poets: W.B. Yeats, and you can hear her reciting another of Yeats’ poems by clicking the You Tube link at the end of this article. Yeats used to visit the Lady Gregory estate: Coole Park, in Galway – right beside where we built our eco-house. That area of Coole and Kilbeacanty is on the edge of the Burren, a world heritage site, renowned for its beauty and its eco-system. It is also seeped in history in terms of the birth of The Irish National Theatre. Thank you, Eabha, for bringing Yeats to our poetry corner and for sharing your eloquence with us.

My introduction to poetry was to the work of William Butler Yeats

by Eabha Rose

William Butler Yeats 1865 - 1939

William Butler Yeats 1865 – 1939

In my childhood, Yeats inspired me with his evocation of the mythical, the magical. He wrote about folklore, legend. This was primary school. Yeats’ poetry at this time spoke to me about myth and heraldry. As I moved into my teens, I began to uncover more subtle meanings within his illusive imagery. His plays, like his poetry, were often multi-layered. Cathleen Ni Houlihan was no longer just about a woman who had lost her land. It was for Yeats about a culture attempting to retrieve its sense of identity, personified through the heroine. He later brought these voices to the stage, and with the establishment of the Abbey Theatre in 1904, they were given a public platform. Political themes ran through much of his work and were undoubtedly inspired by the poet’s interest in the contemporary Irish Nationalist Movement, a force gaining popularity in Ireland in the early 1900’s.
Yeats had a huge interest in delving into the imagination to uncover a kind of mystical beauty. For me, this is what poetry is about. It’s about that journey into the imagination, a search for the thread that links us all. The Song of Wandering Aengus is a perfect example of this. It contains so many layers which form part of Yeats’ genius. It is not just about the character Aengus and his search for love and beauty; it’s about astral projection, about the poet’s love for a woman and his journey towards her.

Yeats had a huge interest in mysticism and the occult and was actively involved in the esoteric movement, The Golden Dawn. This interest led to the writing of his book, A Vision, which Yeats claimed was written alongside his wife Georgiana Hyde Lees using ‘automatic writing’. In many ways, A Vision encapsulates the poetic journey Yeats took through life, incorporating history, spirituality and esotericism. In Yeats’ own words, ‘The mystical life is the centre of all that I do and all that I think and all that I write’.

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;

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 little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
W.B. Yeats (1865-1939)

About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books.

9 comments on “The Wednesday Poetry Corner With Eabha Rose

  1. Uncle Tree
    October 23, 2013

    Thank you for sharing with us today, Eabha! 🙂 (How do you pronounce that?)You see, I never asked Niamh, and I had it wrong. It’s not Knee-ahm after all.Claudio taught me the correct way, just last week. Made me feel silly.

    I’ve never studied Yeats, although I’d read about him by reading others.I thought he lived a long, long time ago, so you taught me something today. When I first got a blog and posted some of my rhymes, one of my viewers commented – comparing me to this famous man. I was flattered,but I think she said that just because I do write rhyming poetry, whereas prose seems to be the fashion of the day – these days, for the most part. One of our friends, Jenean, feels slightly embarrassed when posting her rhymes, but I told her she was in good company, rather, great company, when doing so. I hope she sees your post – for it says more than most.

    Automatic writing? 😉 I call it “divine inspiration”, and Yeats must have been hooked up, or yolked, by the wrist, to see a Vision and write about it at the same time. Very forward-thinking was this poet. Is he watching us now?

    Wandering and wondering – the funnest fun on Earth.
    Nice to meet you, Eabha! Peace, Keith


  2. Uncle Tree
    October 23, 2013

    Darn, my spacing! Will you fix that for me, kind lady? Thank you! Hugz, UT


  3. Patricia Tilton
    October 23, 2013

    I remember reading and studying Yeats in High School and College. But, then I wasn’t able to appreciate the spiritual journey and esotericism in his work at the time. What you shared was beautiful, and I especially enjoyed your reading “A Prayer for My Daughter.” You have such a lovely voice.


  4. thiskidreviewsbooks
    October 24, 2013

    Beautiful poem! 😀


    • ontheplumtree
      October 24, 2013

      Ah! Dear Erik. You have been introduced to the magic of Yeats.


  5. Eabha Rose
    October 24, 2013

    Thank you for such kind and such appreciated comments. Yeats has always been hugely important to me. I love his notion of being ‘married to rock and hill’, how poetry for him flowed from all that he saw, felt and touched, It has often been said that poets become philosophers and this is particularly so of Yeats, who with the creation of A Vision wrote his own philosophy, guided, he believed by occupants of the spirit world, channeled though the pen of his dear wife Georgiana, a woman we know little about but who was hugely important to the writer in his later years. In his poetry, there is a musical elegance echoed within the rhyming patterns, so Keith, you are in great company! Is he watching us now? I have often wondered! The beauty and magic of his words certainly resound and continue to touch and inspire.


  6. Jamie Dedes
    October 25, 2013

    Eabha, a lovely write-up showing the growth of appreciation and some of the depth of Yates background. The Golden Dawn was an interesting moment in time, wasn’t it?

    Also, yours is a dear reading. I’ve listened to others of your on YouTube and appreciated your rendering of Imen’s poem. You have a gift for reading. Well done.


    • Imen Benyoub
      October 29, 2013

      i believe that too Jamie..she is gifted and her voice is celestial..thank you for listening i really appreciate it..much love..xx


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