Saturday, December 8, 2012

Mashed Up Yeats

I have no doubt that Yeats was the greatest poet writing in the twentieth century. He had the complete poet’s palette. I thought it might be interesting to mash up his lines and see what emerged. So with only his own lines recombined, a few changes to punctuation and the position of line endings, this is what I got, (apologies to the purists): 

from the mouths of old men:

I heard the old, old men say,
when you are old and grey
the world is full of magic things:
embroidered cloths
enwrought with golden and silver light,
silver apples of the moon,
golden apples of the sun,
faery vats,
full of berries
and of reddest stolen cherries.

All that's beautiful drifts away
like the waters,
for everything that's lovely is
but a brief, dreamy, kind delight.

On the stuff of dreams:

When sleepers wake and yet still dream,
Imagining in excited reverie
That the future years had come.

All hatred driven hence,
The young in one another’s arms, birds in the trees
 —Those dying generations— at their song.

 O, but we dreamed to mend
Whatever mischief seemed to afflict mankind,
The fury and the mire of human veins.

If there’s no hatred in a mind,
Assault and battery of the wind
Can never tear the linnet from the leaf.

On love:

I whispered, 'I am too young,'
And then, 'I am old enough';
Wherefore I threw a penny
To find out if I might love.

Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars
Till the stars had run away.

We taste and feel and see the truth:
A pity beyond all telling is hid in the heart of love:
Beauty passes like a dream,
All true love most die.

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