He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

William_Butler_Yeats by John Singer Sargeant

It’s a beautiful day (again) and I’m not used to it, but it shall not stop me praising it (softly) in case it hears and goes away which happens so often with English weather.   So I’ve sunshine outside, – I look on Lesliepaints blog and what do I see but sunlit paintings bathed in light and my heart sings!

Bathed in sunlight, inspired by Leslie and  armed with inspiration  I think of this poem which I wish I’d written, but I know I never could even if  lived a thousand lifetimes.  It’s by Irish poet William Butler Yeats (brother of  artist Jack Butler Yeats who I shall be writing about very soon because I love his work  and the Yeats brothers are such interesting fellows).


He  wishes for the Cloths of heaven 
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with the golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams beneath your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams…
William Butler Yeats

I’m aware that this isn’t really about a Summer’s day – but I’m quite unrepentant!  The day has brought it to mind.  I like the imageryof the Heavens embroidered cloth, which must mean the stars.  Butler Yeats does include all the lights though too;-

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and half-light,

And it’s these lights which inspire.  There are lights or certain kinds of light which we remember all our lives – especially the way the light touches and lights up our childhood.  These lights never fade or dim and always burn brightly in our memory.  Whilst our eyes may be failing these brightly lit memories shine.  Halcyon days!  We may be making one at this moment in time, though we will never know until tomorrow.

Poem from here
Lots of his poems here

Image from here




Dont forget to visit Artatexit0 and my interview with this artist here

23 thoughts on “He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

  1. Indeed, It’s incredible at the moment.
    And it even better because thse conditions are keeping my hatfever under control too.
    That’s a fantastic poem.
    What a talented artist

  2. Yeats is one of my favorite poets. His poem I believed entitled “The Second Coming” has always felt to me to be an apt description of the times we live in. What rough beast slouches towards Bethlehem? Didn’t know he had an artist brother and I’m looking forward to that post. Did you know Keats’ brother settled in Louisville? Hope your happy weather continues.

    1. No I didn’t know about the Louisville connection , just somewhere in the States. Is there something to commemorate him there? They lived in London too. His poetry stands out amongst other poets of his time. So many wonderful poems to choose from – spoilt for choice! Ill put some more on:)

  3. I’ve heard the last line of the poem before, but never read the rest of it. Lovely, lovely, lovely. Thanks 🙂

    Enjoy your weather–ours is v blustery but sunny.

    1. Glad you liked that Jane, that last line is very famous – it’s nice to see it in context. The weather is…not as sunny today (and I was only whispering too:) )

  4. Thank-you so very much for referencing my studies of light pathways to this lovely post, Lynda.
    I love these words. I have not heard of his artist brother and will wait anxiously for that post. I have to say that the portrait of Yeats by Sargeant is one of my favorites. My two favorite watercolorists are Sargeant and Homer. The sort of “stuff” dreams are made of! Sunny days to you, Lynda!

    1. Fabulous portrait isn’t it Leslie! there are many photographs and even paintings of WB Yeats but the drawing stood out for me. I had no idea that Sargeant was one of your favorite artists Leslie – what a coinicidence I picked that particular drawing! Sunny days indeed!

  5. I am so ignorant of these things.
    Thank you for sharing and I dont think it is a stretch at all for the nice day to take you there.
    I imagine that you do tread lightly on the sunny day and that it seems to be……a dream 🙂 .

  6. dear lynda,

    this post is so inspiring. and i think i have been bitten with melancholy nowadays. and my poetic lines are tinged with sadness. reading this post somehow, has lifted the dark clouds of the day and brought some little rays of sunlight.

    thank you for this great post.

  7. I’m glad you like this poem and the paintings Marvin and the poem has cheered you a little! These brothers were certainly talented and are still able to effect, – what better legacy:)

  8. What a talented pair of brothers those Yeats were! I was just admiring Jack’s paintings in your newest post. Wow, he may now be my favorite Yeats lol

    Leslie’s paintings are inspiring. That was a wonderful tribute 🙂

  9. Yes, very talented Adam! I think they compliment each other in their own chosen medium. What one expresses with poetry, the other conveys it in paint! Leslie continues to inspire all:)

  10. This is a great poem full of emotion, imagery and artistic expression. Pray permission to use the image in my blog (purely academic and artistic and has no commercial interests)

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