I could explore technical features of the poem, such as its unusual hexameter line construction but I prefer to linger with its meaning. First of all, in one sense, the lake isle really exists and as a boy, the poet, William Yeats, may have actually visited it. It is located in Lough Gill in the county of Sligo in the Republic of Ireland - an area that Yeats knew well all his life. In another sense, the isle doesn't exist - it is just a metaphor, a means of exploring the urge that is in most of us to find a place where we can really "be" - planting our bean rows and perhaps lying down in a grassy clearing to listen to the "bee loud" humming of a summer's day.
29 January 2009
27 January 2009
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 slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
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.
24 January 2009
I kind of envy the lifestyle of urban foxes. They remind me of the gypsies who annually passed through the East Yorkshire village where I grew up. We would rush to the school gates to see them pass with their ragamuffin children, their clanging pots and pans and their ragged horses. Just like the urban fox, these people didn't really belong in our society. They were free spirits, living amongst us but ignoring the rules by which everybody else had to play. No rent. No permanance. No wage slavery or television news. Close but so far away and as cunning as foxes.
We had a couple of leftover pork chops in the fridge. I ventured up to the apple trees and left them on the old garden table as a gift to the fox god. Most likely they will have disappeared by tomorrow morning.
21 January 2009
At a time like this, we need Superman to rescue the planet. He duly arrived on Tuesday - Barack Obama whose last name in Iranian apparently means "he in us". There's even a town in Japan called Obama. Magically, he seems to encompass so much of the world - from Kenya to Hawaii, from England to Illinois. My fingers are genuinely crossed for this charismatic new leader. I wish him well.
18 January 2009
Children of Gaza
410 little graves
410 candles snuffed out
410 soundless children's voices echoing
410 canyons of silence where laughter should ring
410 fragile collections of hopes and dreams shattered
410 cruel lies trying to justify the unforgivable
410 world politicians turning their backs
410 sheets hiding 410 innocent faces
410 empty spaces
410 reasons why the slaughter must cease
410 reasons for making their memorial a lasting peace
15 January 2009
11 January 2009
Yesterday, I visited Everton's ancient Goodison Park stadium for the very first time to see Hull City play the mighty Toffees in the nation's top division. We caught the "Soccerbus" from Sandhills station. I saw the great bronze statue of legendary striker Dixie Dean just outside the ground before we entered the ancient stadium. My seat was in the Upper Bullens stand on the back row - seat S55. A bloody awful position even though the ticket cost me £34. My view of the pitch was slightly obscured by pillars and the cantilevered construction.
Everton won 2-0. Felliani's opening goal was clearly offside and the second - a brilliantly taken free kick by the Spaniard Arteta -should never have even been awarded by the Scouse referee who made a series of dodgy decisions in Everton's favour. Why did he keep listening to the protests and perpetual arguing of the Everton players? And why could he not see that there was a pattern to any physical challenges upon Everton players - fall over, writhe around for two minutes, get the free kick and then - miraculously get up as right as ninepence. Bloody actors! However, I must admit that The Tigers didn't really trouble keeper Tim Howard all game and we are now very much in the business of surviving.
Liverpool is home to 435,000 Scousers but in 1931 it had a population of 846,000 and was Britain's second city. You can see its past greatness in its architecture and in the character of Liverpudlian people. It was a bitterly cold day but after alighting from our Trans-Pennine train in Lime Street Station, we headed for the waterfront and the refurbished Albert Dock where we ate lunch at The Ha Ha! Bar (I wouldn't recommend it). It was frustrating not to have enough time to visit the Slavery Museum or the Walker Art Gallery or the shops in the latest retail development - Liverpool One. Perhaps we will have to come again.
We spoke to several Liverpudlians. What an amazing and unique accent they have! Of course, educated Liverpool people like Willy Russell or Phil Redmond have tempered their accents but speak to an ordinary working class Liverpudlian and what they say is verging on the unintelligible!
Albert Dock looking towards the Liver Building