I initially wasn’t going to talk about any dead white male poets during this project, but the Poem-A-Day email told me that today was the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rebellion and since one of my all time favorite poems–and one that I discussed in my honors thesis back in the day–is about the Easter Rebellion, I’m making an exception.
William Butler Yeats was a creeper, let’s just get that out of the way from the get-go. His obsession with Maud Gonne was very much not okay and he needed to knock it off. But he wrote some truly amazing poetry and I find myself returning to it again and again. As one does.
I was going to copy the part of my thesis which pertains to this poem into this blog post, but then I reread it and decided that no one needs to be subjected to what my 20 year old self thought about this. I know I certainly didn’t need to be.
I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.