I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree

Today’s poem is from one of the great Irish poets, WB Yeats, who’s life and work spanned the late 19th century and early 20th century, a period of great turmoil and upheaval in the world, and in Ireland. This poem is entitled “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

W. B. Yeats, 1865 – 1939

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

From <http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/lake-isle-innisfree&gt;

This is a poem about nostalgia for a place, where the poet can lead a simple life, in peace and solitude, enjoying nature’s blessings. In this case the setting is in Ireland, a small island set in a lake. Yeats offers up an alluring prospect of this place, echoing Thoreau’s Walden Pond, or Fray Luis’s garden on the mountainside, where the combination of the natural setting and the poet’s own efforts will result in an idyllic place for peace and contemplation.

The final stanza translates this fantasy into the prospect of action “I will arise…” and actually leaving the city, “the roadway or the pavements grey” to go and find the island, lured by the sound of the water lapping up on the shore. I hope he made it, and I hope we all find our place of repose, “where peace comes dropping slow…”

The Poetry Dude


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