Monday, May 7, 2012

The Mnemosyne Weekly: Poem Ten (Yeats)

The Lake Isle of Innisfree 

Photo by Kenneth Allen

This week, thanks to the recommendation of Robert Craven, author of Get Lenin, we'll be taking a poetic journey to "The Lake Isle of Innisfree," courtesy of William Butler Yeats. Yeats composed the poem in 1888, and it was first published in 1890 in the National Observer. Click here if you want to have your mind blown by an amazing audio recording. 

As well, feel free to leave remarks about the poems. I love hearing what you think! Here's last week's posting, if you want to leave comments on Walt Whitman's "When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer ": The Mnemosyne Weekly: Poem Nine. Also, if you're new to the blog, please check out the first Mnemosyne Post. And please keep suggesting titles! I always learn the most from the ones I would have never thought to select myself.

Have a great week, everyone. May your hearts and minds find peace in the "bee-loud glade!"

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 honey-bee,
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 evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

*Note* Because the link Helene Cardona and Enda Reilly so graciously tried to provide in the comments section did not come through, I am adding it here:


  1. This is one of my favourite poems by WB Yeats, it has a relaxed lyricism and simplicity; to me it's the thoughts of a man nearing the end of his days & seeking solace on the mythical Isle of Inisfree on Lough Gill in County Sligo. This island is portrayed as a haven in summer-time all year round, where an old man can warm his bones and reflect on life & lost love.

  2. Replies
    1. Robert, I love your comment. I felt such delight, peace, and simplicity in memorizing this poem, and because of the relaxed lyricism that you mentioned, I also found it quite easy to memorize. The imagery and sounds draw me in so deeply that, even though the poem is in first person, I identify with the speaker to the extent that I feel these are my experiences and dreams. Thank you for suggesting this gorgeous poem!

  3. Thank you so much Melissa for sharing this gorgeous poem.
    Listen to Stephen James Smith and Enda Reilly's version, what they did is so beautiful and haunting:

    Thank you again for all the beauty you bring to us!

    With gratitude,

  4. Helene - I so appreciate that you shared this wonderful link! I know it will bring joy to anyone who listens, and I am thankful for all the efforts you made to create the post. With gratitude for all the beauty you share as well --

  5. Melissa,

    The link somehow didn't come through..I'm trying to put it in the name title!

  6. Melissa,

    The link somehow didn't come through..I'm trying to put it in the name title!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thank you, Enda. I went ahead and added it to the actual post. It's so lovely!