Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tuesday Poem: "Remorse for Intemperate Speech" by W.B. Yeats

I ranted to the knave and fool,
But outgrew that school,
Would transform the part,
Fit audience found, but cannot rule
My fanatic heart.

I sought my betters:  though in each
Fine manners, liberal speech,
Turn hatred into sport,
Nothing said or done can reach
My fanatic heart.

Out of Ireland have we come.
Great hatred, little room,
Maimed us at the start.
I carry from my mother's womb
A fanatic heart.

W.B. (William Butler) Yeats is, I would hazard a guess, a prominent poet of the twentieth century who hardly needs any introduction, but you can read about his life and work here:


I love this poem because I feel that it encapsulates the Irish anguish of the soul in a very pithy way. Poetry can cut to the heart of matters in a few lines whereas it may take an entire essay in prose to explain what Yeats is describing here.

Yeats explains, as perhaps only Yeats can, what such things as potato famines and their struggles against oppressors has done to do the Irish psyche. It could be argued that it is from this spiritual and cultural milieu that the Irish propensity for such extreme opposites as terrorist bombing and Nobel Prize-winning poetry spring.

When you have enjoyed reading Yeats' poem, please take the time to check out some of the fine offerings from my fellow Tuesday Poets as well as the wonderful poem at the hub:


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