WB Yeats Sailing to Byzantium (I wish I was)

Everyone who reads this blog is aware of my latest ‘crush’ is on the poetry of Irish poet William Butler Yeats.  This is the latest poem I like of his.  There is some beautiful imagery in this poem, including the lines the salmon falls  – the mackeral crowded seas       and an aged man is but a paltry thing a tattered coat upon a stick…..  I don’t know what a perne in a gyre is but it sounds fabulous!  The voice is very magical and belongs to the poet.

Youtube video by SpokenVerse

6 Responses to “WB Yeats Sailing to Byzantium (I wish I was)”

  1. That is absolutely beautiful.Thank-you for posting this with his reading. My Granddaddy used to read me poetry and this man sounded like him so it lulled me and soothed me. Such gifts come, like this, when I least expect it.

    I looked up Byzantium and learned something tonight. It was the heart of the Roman Empire and supposedly beautiful and considered the heart of civilization. It is now Istanbul. Thank-you for this, Lynda.

    • This is marvellous Leslie! What a lovely voice your Granfather must have had! I’m really getting to love this poet and so pleased others like him and enjoy him as much as me:)

  2. “The phrase “perne in a gyre” refers to a spinning wheel such as those Yeats would have seen during his youth in Sligo. Yeats is referring to the movement of thread through bobbin and spool, a movement that is so fast that it is imperceptible to the naked eye. The point that Yeats is highlighting is that each individual strand of thread is submerged by speed into one continuous piece, similarly each successive human life is a mirror image of a previous one, but that taken together there is a continuation, a permanence.” Hope that enhances your enjoyment of his wonderful poem.

    • The mystery is solved – thanks Ann! WOW wonderful analysis of this poem!!!!! Yeats seemed to have a thing about threads didn’t he? lifes rich tapestry and weaving – very romantic and poignant. Thanks Ann appreciated:)

  3. artistatexit0 Says:

    Nice to hear the poem in the poet’s own voice! I couldn’t resist and also listened to a reading of the “Second Coming” which I have always thought to be prophetic of our times. Thanks Ann for explaining the “perne in a gyre”. Yeats has both wonderful imagery and cadence and is always a treat.

  4. His voice has such a velvety depth to it. I was surprised at just how many readings by Yeats there are on Youtube! I’ve listened to several people reading them – but he is by far the best narrator of his own work. Favorite poet of the moment for me:)

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