Sunday, June 25, 2006

7: Another Emblem

I conclude with a valediction to the emblematic swan. It is the third stanza of Coole Park and Ballylee by the Irish poet W.B.Yeats; my favourite poet, one of my favourite poems. The poet, wandering through the woods bordering the lake at Coole Park, the ancient seat of the Gregory family in Co. Sligo in the west of Ireland, hears “the sudden thunder of the mounting swan”. Through the branches he sees the swan on the lake.

“Another emblem there! That stormy white
But seems a concentration of the sky;
And, like the soul, it sails into the sight
And in the morning’s gone, no man knows why;
And is so lovely that it sets to right
What knowledge or its lack had set awry,
So arrogantly pure, a child might think
It can be murdered with a spot of ink”.

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