Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rodak Recites: Some Yeats

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Why should not old men be mad?
Some have known a likely lad
That had a sound fly-fisher's wrist
Turn to a drunken journalist;
A girl that knew all Dante once
Live to bear children to a dunce;
A Helen of social welfare dream,
Climb on a wagonette to scream.
Some think it a matter of course that chance
Should starve good men and bad advance,
That if their neighbors figured plain,
As though upon a lighted screen,
No single story would they find
Of an unbroken happy mind,
A finish worthy of the start.
Young men know nothing of this sort,
Observant old men know it well;
And when they know what old books tell,
And that no better can be had,
Know why an old man should be mad.

WHY SHOULD NOT OLD MEN BE MAD? ~ Wm. Butler Yeats
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And while we're at it, although these lines may have been quoted so often that they no longer can be heard or register on the blunted minds of info-saturated cyber-addicts, here they come again, since never have they rung more true:

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
xxxx~ W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming
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3 comments:

SINVILLE said...

I googled the poem. I like to read words over a few times, and then see what others have to say. I found the Yeats' poem on a Irish blog that I will read later. I was just thinking, I would not ever want to give up the mind that I have now in exchange of what I had as a young woman. I think we all want the vitality of youth, but not at a loss of our wisdom. Yeats forgot that youth has its curses and that we need to embrace the best part of wherever we are in our life.

Rodak said...

I think that Yeats is writing from a perspective more pessimistic than you want to be. But, then, you're still young!

SINVILLE said...

Robert, I see at almost 64, you can still learn a new trick. Your wife will be the happier! I remember a friend telling me, around 18, that I was perpetually happy. I can't remember if he was the one who suggested I would be happy mining salt in Siberia. I would make the most of the situation. Salt scrubs at a spa are damned expensive!