Thursday, October 08, 2015

National Poetry Day 2015

Today is National Poetry Day, a British campaign to promote poetry. The theme this year is 'light'. I want to share a poem of my favourite poet, William Butler Yeats (1865-1939).

"Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven", better known as "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven", is a poem Yeats wrote for Maud Gonne, a woman he loved for most of his life although she did not return his feelings. It was published in 1899 in his third volume of poetry, The Wind Among the Reeds.
The speaker of the poem is the character Aedh, who appears in Yeats's work alongside two other archetypal characters of the poet's myth: Michael Robartes and Red Hanrahan. The three are collectively known as the principles of the mind. Whereas Robartes is intellectually powerful and Hanrahan represents Romantic primitivism, Aedh is pale, lovelorn, and in the thrall of La belle dame sans merci. The character "Aedh" is replaced in volumes of Yeats's collected poetry by a more generic "he". (source: Jim Clark)

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths, 
Enwrought with golden and silver light, 
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths 
Of night and light and the half-light, 
I would spread the cloths under your feet: 
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet; 
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

In a TV commercial for the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) Harvey Keitel recites the poem:

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