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.
—W. B. Yeats, from The Lake Isle of Innisfree
It’s May, and the weather has turned springlike, though in fits and starts. Local gardens available to the public have begun to open, among them Innisfree. It’s time, then, to arise and take a break from blogging and, to an extent, the internet for a while.
Yeats’s poem, after which the garden is named, is, of course, an act of the imagination by a young poet dreaming about a real Lake Isle of Innisfree, but nonetheless more a place of the imagination than of fact. Innisfree Garden, too, is, in some sense, not a real place, but an act of the imagination, realized by people wealthy enough to do so and, so far at least, to leave enough behind to help fund the garden’s continued existence.
Before I arise and go, I want to leave with you these things:
>>A Poem Talk discussion of Yeats’s poem, with Taije Silverman, ModPo TA Max McKenna, and John Timpane joining Al Filreis, along with links to three recordings of Yeats reading the poem. Yeats provides an introduction to the poem here, in which, among other things, he points to a shop window advertisement as what I would call his own version of Proust’s madeleine:
I am going to begin with a poem of mine called ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’ because if you know anything about me you will expect me to begin with it. It is the only poem of mine which is very widely known. When I was a young lad in the town of Sligo I read Thoreau’s essays and wanted to live in a hut on an island in Lough Gill called Innisfree, which means ‘Heather Island.’ I wrote the poem in London when I was about twenty-three. One day in The Strand I hear a little tinkle of water and saw in a shop window a little jet of water balancing on the top. It was an advertisement, I think, for cooling drinks. But it set me thinking of Sligo and lake water. I think there is only only obscurity in the poem. I speak of noon as a ’purple glow.’ I must have meant by that the reflection of heather in the water. [transcription provided by Jacket2 here]
>>Photographs ranging from a family of foxes and the dogwood tree in bloom in our front yard to scenes from local walking places, including Buttercup Farm and, of course, Innisfree Garden.
>>As always, a listening list.
I hope you’ll enjoy what you find here while I’m offline. I will respond to any comments that might be left here (though my response may be delayed), and I’ll look forward to coming back and visiting with you in a while.
Here are four Spotify playlists of music I’ve been exploring recently:
May Selections 1 (British Composers Benjamin Britten, Oliver Knussen, and James MacMillan)
May Selections 2 (Carl Nielson (Danish), Glière (Ukrainian), Josef Suk (Czeck))
May Selections 3 (Rued Langgaard (Danish), Giya Kancheli (Georgian), Rolf Martinsson (Swedish), Uuno Klami (Finnish))
May Selections 4 (Sofia Gubaidulina (Russian), Magnus Lindberg (Finnish), Kaija Saariaho (Finnish), Gérard Grisey (French))
A YouTube selection is below:
Glière’s Ilya Muromets: Symphony No. 3, Op. 42
Langgaard’s Music of the Spheres
Gubaidulina’s Viola Concerto (part 1)
Credits: All photographs are mine, as always unless otherwise noted on the blog. The source for each quotation may be found at the link noted in the text.