Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Drinking Song - W.B. Yeats

What can one say about THE "name" in English-language literature (poetry, plays) of the last century, W.B. Yeats (1865-1939)?  Certainly more than I can (or will) here.  Without him, "modern" poetry in English and a revival in Celtic culture probably would not have occurred.  His plays, dealing mostly with Irish legends, were the chief reason for being awarded the 1923 Nobel Prize in Literature, but his important poetry, for which he is probably best known, came afterwards.  (Clicking here will take you to an online exhibition by the National Library of Ireland about his life and works.)  I've chosen this poem precisely because it is so unvarnished, undeniable, and easy to remember.   Be like a carpenter - "measure twice, cut once" - and choose wisely with whom you'll share the toast.   Use it more than once... and the listener will know.  And no amount of wine will remedy that. 
A Drinking Song

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.

                                                                      W. B. Yeats - Irish

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