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The Lake Isle of Innisfree -- William Butler Yeats

Guest poem sent in by Pavithra Krishnan
(Poem #309) The Lake Isle of Innisfree
  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 honeybee,
  And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

  And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow
  Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
  There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
  And evenings full of the linnet's wings.

  I will arise and go now, for always night and day
  I hear the lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
  While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
  I hear it in the deep heart's core.
-- William Butler Yeats
I like that this one was written by the man who penned something as dark as
"The Second Coming". There is a quietness in this poem that  I find
arresting.So also, the simple, straight-forward sincerity reflected even in
the rhyme pattern. An unassuming poem with a depth of feeling made all the
more evident by its very understatement.


39 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Michele Bagneris said...

I think The Lake Isle of Innisfree is saying that he wants to go to
Innisfree to find inner peace with himself as if there is some type of
cleansing going on. This is my idea!

Charles L. Olson said...

I know this man for he was me.Innisfree is his escape from all that stress
him or taxes his soul. If you have ever listened to a marsh in the evening,
and heard the peepers, crickets, and the droning buzz of flocks ofbirds as
their flocks pass overhead, you have been to Innisfree. Life is simple
there;the colors of the evening and day skies touch deep into the soul and
take with them all that alils the victim.

Thirdpres said...

The writers on 'Witchblade' ripped off the finishing lines of the poem,

"While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core. "

in the episode that ran this evening, July 1, 2002. They didn't use exactly
the same words, but it was too close to be a coincidence. The Lake Isle of
Innisfree has been one of my favorite poems since I first heard it some 50
years ago and I don't like it being misused and abused like it was tonight.

Charlie Jefferson
Woodbridge, VA

Dave Chiarelli said...

To hear this poem sung by the angelic blended vocals of a chamber chior took me to Innisfree today. Thank you Bill Douglas.

Please check out his CD all. You will be moved.

Dave Chiarelli

Flor Mechain said...

Despite the author begins with "I will arise and go now", the poem ends by "while I stand on the pavement". It seems as if he is unable to actually leave to this unreal ("there midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow") place of peace, Innisfree. Instead, he stays where he is, having to bear his real and in his unpleasant human condition, full of stress.
Does he actually want to go there? Does Innisfree exist anywhere else than in his "deep heart's core"?

Linda Ludwin said...

Hi, I understand that Innisfree means heather in the Irish language. The purple glow is the purple blossom of this plant reflected in the water; the midnight glimmer refers to the multitude of stars that can be seen every evening in such a remote spot.

Jette Spellenberg said...

This poem is a very beautiful one and makes me want to break free of all obligations and go to some peaceful and soothing place just as the lake isle if innisfree....

Anabel Schurr said...

Yeats describes his innerst feelings, his wishes, maybe it is his dream of life, a dream that he wants to live some day. It seems like an ideal place, like a vision. This vision makes life worth living.

Karin Vogt said...

On behalf of Annabel Schurr: Yeats describes his innerst feelings, his wishes, maybe it is his dream of life, adream that he wants to live some day. It seems like an ideal place, like a vision.This vision makes life worth living.

Lilia Dumler said...

I like the poeme, because it seems to me as if the narrator is looking for a peacefull life in harmony with the nature. The lake isle of Innisfree seems to be a place where he can find not only the untouched nature but also his inner peace.

Ute Dewein said...

It seems to me that the guy wants to leave, he or she I don’t know, can
imagine what he will find in his „paradise“, but can’t.

Vanessa Weber said...

"The Lake Isle of Innisfree" seems to be Yeat's place of peace. He's looking forward to going there because he's describing the beauty of the isle's nature and creates a peaceful image of "The Lake Isle of Innisfree". He feels so close to this isle that he can "hear the lake water lapping" which touches his heart, although he is still far away standing on the pavement. Maybe this isle is his place of inspiration and to refresh his mind.

Maja2014 said...

I think with this poem Yeats creates an esoteric world in which the narrator
can find the peace and freedom he could not find in the real world. The
first and the second stanza lull the reader into this fantastic world and his
last stanza pushes the reader and also the narrator back into reality.

Mareike said...

I think the person in the poem wants to be in another world than the one
he/she is actually living in. Innisfree is something like his/her own
paradise. a world where nothing disturbs his/her life and the silence.
When you start to read the poem you think it only describes this place
of happiness but at the end this constructed image (in the mind) is
destroyed because it seems to be only a is just the place the
person wants to be.the place he/she is dreaming of in the grey
('pavements grey') everyday life. the place that is always in his heart.


Mihael Ivanisevic said...

The poem perfectly describes what all mankind is longing for after a
stressful and maybe even unsatisfying day; a refuge where you can
finally relax and forget whatever may be depressing to the own psyche.
Places like these may be the key to our soul, they show us that nature
is meant to be our 'friend', something we should respect, as well as it
does respect us, by giving us peace and tranquillity, not bothering us
like we on the other hand often do. From a more idealistic point of view
you could (and maybe should) consider this poem as the proof for the
imperfection of mankind and the perfection of nature. So living in
harmony with nature is what we are actually (and unconsciously) longing
for, but never will be able to achieve!

Mihael Ivanisevic


I learned this poem 57 yrs ago in school, and it has always brought a sense
of peace to throughout my life. Its very simplicity calms my mind and will
never be forgotten.

Sam Osborne said...

After having tried to go back to the Lake Innisfree on my childhood, I read
the poem differently than I had before. Among two rather implausible
memories from childhood, that I long carried with me from about age four,
were (one) standing on the backseat of our Model A Ford and looking up a
steep bank at one of my aunt's houses, my dad apparently stepped inside for
just a moment and had left me to wait in the car. The other (two) was
standing on a low bridge by my great aunts small house and looking down into
a passing stream of water, my mother was inside visiting. Many times when I
later travel back to visit different places in this city; these memories
would come back to me in both a depth and clarity that went beyond verbal

After not having been there for several decades, I retired and moved back to
a town near this small city and one morning I went to its public library and
looked up (in some old cartage books) the addresses of these two long-ago
places of my aunts' residence. I was curious if my memories were at all
accurate or just products of imagination that had somehow gotten fashioned
into something more. Anyway, I went to both of these locations and sure
enough they were still both there and set exactly as I had remembered them.
But in standing in the exact same spots as I had years before a strange
thing happened. The memories once clear and engaging had in an instant
disappeared and had become replaced by very unremarkable matters of fact.

The real things, the childhood memories, were gone and though I knew for
sure that I had been in those two places those years ago, my physically
going back there had somehow destroyed the reason for my going. The
memories had become as gone as if they had never been there in the first
place. Since then, when I read Yeats' poem, his repeating of the lines "I
will go now" is a warning to only travel in memory to the beautiful places
of memory. To try to go destroys the place longed for---Thomas Wolf had it
wrong, you can go home again if you never try.

Sam Osborne

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Anonymous said...

It is just as sad as The Second Coming,

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