The Wild Swans at Coole by W.B.Yeats 1917
The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.
The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.
I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.
Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.
But now they drift on the still water,
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?
The portrait of the poet above is by his brother Jack Butler Yeats. An interesting analysis and exposition of this poem may be found at cercles.com/occasional/ops2009/noirard.pdf
With Olympics in the news at present it is interesting to read about the Silver Olympic Medal awarded to Jack Yeats. He thus became the first Irishman to win an Olympic Medal.
which can be found on the National Gallery, Dublin website at http://www.nationalgallery.ie/en/Research/Library_and_Archives/Libraries%20and%20Archives%20highlights/Jack%20B%20Yeats%20Olympic%20Medal%201924.aspx Here it mentions, “Jack B. Yeats (1871–1957) won this silver olympic medal for his painting ‘The Liffey Swim’ (NGI 941) in 1924. Art competitions formed part of the modern Olympic Games during its early years, from 1912 to 1948 and medals were awarded for works of art inspired by sport. Works were divided into five categories: architecture, literature, music, painting, and sculpture. The medals for the 1924 Olympic Games were designed by French medal artist André Adolphe Rivaud, (1892 – unknown).”
Jack Butler Yeats was strongly influenced by expressionism and was a friend of Samuel Beckett, J.M.Synge and the Austrian painter Oskar Kokoschka. He was a magnificent painter of horses and Dublin life in general.like the Liffey Swim (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Liffey_Swim). There is also an engaging video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGnbLXru-qw Here are just three paintings by Jack Yates:-