Two of my favourite poets, Yeats and RS Thomas. It’s not known whether this was a real or imagined event. Thomas often travelled on the Holyhead train, as did Yeats. They were contemporary, both passionate about their Celtic culture. Both, in my humble opinion, shared the same muse.
The rail rhythm of the first two lines is simple and stunning. And ‘In mutual silence closer than lover knit’ my favourite line in poetry… and life. This is not necessarily, however, the view of my own muse… the missus.
Memories of Yeats while Travelling to Holyhead
How often he went on this journey, think of it, think of it:
The metrical train, the monosyllabic sea,
The listening hilltops, aloof and resentful of strangers.
Who would have refrained from addressing him here, not discerning
The embryonic poem still coiled in the ivory skull?
Boredom or closeness of age might have prompted, his learning
Concealed by his tweed and the azure, ecstatic tie;
But who would have sensed the disdain of his slow reply
Of polite acquiescence in their talk of the beautiful?
Who would have guessed the futility even of praising
Mountain and marsh and the delicate, flickering tree
To one long impervious and cold to the outward scene,
Heedless of nature’s baubles, lost in the amazing
And labyrinth paths of his own impenetrable mind?
But something in the hair’s fine silver, the breadth of brow,
Had kept me dumb, too shy of his scornful anger
To presume to pierce the dark, inscrutable glasses,
His first defence against a material world.
Yet alone with him in the indifferent compartment, hurled
Between the waves’ white audience, the earth’s dim screen,
In mutual silence closer than lover knit
I had known reality dwindle, the dream begin.
I see the predisposition
In my sister’s poems, in my daughter’s poems,
and feel them heaving in my mind
the black dog mewling and gnawing
his savage gravity hangs at my being
up, through and down our dark ages
but, we have other predispositions too
to fight, write, and a will to tweak a tale
This Henley poem below inspired me to be more master of my own fate years ago.
I’m trying to get a little hub going to encourage people struggling and in recovery
to write, blog, use social media – to express their creativity, generally.
Initially, there’s a private Facebook Group, Touched by Fire, to collect a few people
who know these worlds and would like to discuss their possibilities…
Would love to hear from anyone who could help, get the thing up and writing.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
…the memories, the experiences,
just started welling up and out of me,
even through organs that should be incoming only,
through the pores; everywhere – just had to capture a few,
anchor them in some way,
otherwise they’d be at the far reaches of the universe
before their worth could be known
To be, to blog, to catch in the web
seizing moments before they get scarce
aye, there’s the rub,
To recollect in tranquillity,
To reap the reward of a life of travail
on our gorgeous globe where all’s One,
(with apologies to Shakespeare, Wordsworth and people who count syllables)
Out of the solid body came the word
Winging its way, winging its way to where
Out of our past came a reptilian bird
Where are they headed and what can they say
From what to enter the wide wider world
Come a love and its spermatozoa
What do we see in the sun, moon and star
To capture the heart and carry it onward
At the pace of a tortoise and hare
At the solid body, into the solid body