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Three Movements -- William Butler Yeats

(Poem #324) Three Movements
  Shakespearean fish swam the sea, far away from land;
  Romantic fish swam in nets coming to the hand;
  What are all those fish that lie gasping on the strand?
-- William Butler Yeats
Note: 'strand' is a somewhat archaic word for 'shore'; hence the current
  verb 'to strand' (literally to leave ashore)

A somewhat uncharacteristic poem by Yeats, but a compelling one nonetheless.
Whether because of its almost transparent simplicity, its length, its
pleasing rhythms or some other, more intangible quality, this is one of
those poems that has stuck in my mind.

One thing that especially intrigues me about it, though, is that I am unable
to decide whether this is something that Yeats dashed off on the spur of an
inspiration, or whether he painstakingly crafted every word. (Of course, one
of the marks of genius is the ability to labour over something, polishing it
until it looks like it has taken no effort whatsoever). Either way, a
delightful poem, and one that by its very unusualness stands out and catches
the reader's mind.



Yeats was the first poet run on Minstrels, and he has been far from
underrepresented since. Go to
[broken link] to see a list of
all the poems run, including a biography at poem #32.

Incidentally, while this is the first Yeats poem I'm running, he seems to be
popular among the members of the list - of the eight poems already on
Minstrels, three are guest poems.

(And speaking of guest poems - do keep sending them in!)

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