Monday, 17 March 2014

Of Night and Light and the Half Light

The natural well at Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams; 
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

(W.B. Yeats)

Tying a votive to the tree at the well

My family is from Ireland a few generations back on my father's side and I carry an Irish surname. I love it when a couple of my friends call me Mac (it's fun to be one of the boys sometimes) but I never felt too much affinity with my Irish roots, even after a visit to Dublin many years ago. However, my trip to my actual ancestral home of County Donegal last year brought me more in tune with that heritage and the romance of the Irish countryside...

And then there's Yeats. I've always struggled with poetry, I must confess, but Yeats was one of the few poets that I actually got, that actually grabbed me, even back in high school English classes. 

So, with a far greater sense of connection and with far less cynicism about it just being an excuse for a piss up, this year I wholeheartedly wish you a happy St Patrick's Day. And I'll leave you with a traditional Irish blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And rains fall soft upon your fields. 
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.


  1. Great photos of an evocative scene. Wise and gracious words too. Ooh yes, Yeats! Mike Scott and The Waterboys putting Yeats' "The Stolen Child" to music many years ago, then recently in the album and tour, "An Appointment With Mr Yeats" opens up a whole new world. You've given us a beautiful post with that wonderful "The Stolen Child" before but I MUST choose another. But which?! Well, "The Song of Wandering Aengus" has a special connection for me & The Waterboys did it too, so…(final verse of 3) "Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun."

    1. Good choice of Yeats quote. I actually found it was the political poems that first got me interested in him and really grabbed at me, but they weren't really appropriate for Romantic images like the ones here!

  2. lovely post Miss McIntyre,
    like the poetry,
    nice way to start my day,

  3. Thank you, and you're welcome!