Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Random Thought Thursday

William Butler Yeats has long been a favorite poet. Doesn't his hair look a bit tousled in this picture, like he just got out of bed, or hurriedly ran his fingers through it without looking in a mirror? It was taken on July 15, 1911. He was a handsome 46 year-old.
William Butler Yeat by George Charles Beresford
He wrote: It is one of the great troubles of life that we cannot have any unmixed emotions. There is always something in our enemy that we like and something in our sweetheart that we dislike.

How true, how true. Although when it comes to some evil doers (Hitler for example) I can't think of a single thing I like. But I believe Yeats may have been talking about people we know. I can think of people I don't care for but who, despite certain personality traits that cause me to experience them as untrustworthy, still have something about them which is good or likable. And those whom I care for can sometimes be irritating.

And so it is with our characters. To make them more human, more realistic, they must be sprinkled with both salt and pepper, sugar and chili. Think of sitting down to a banquet with absolutely gorgeous food spread out before you. Yet when you bite into it, it's bland. No seasonings, no herbs, no spices. How disappointing would that be?

Let us season our writing. Let us become chefs who have learned how to use the right amounts of fear or angst or longing or love or desire or peevishness or cruelty or deception get the picture. Too much of one or not enough of another can spoil the whole meal.

I just have to include it, my favorite poem by Yeats.

He Wishes for the Clothes of Heaven
Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Are you familiar with Yeats? Do you have a favorite poem?


  1. I knew the last line of this poem but I think it's the first time I've ever seen the whole thing. It's as lovely as it's last line suggests.

  2. I love Yeats - I'm a massive fan. Love this poem!

  3. Love, love, love this poem! And as for Hitler. An entire country of people liked him at the time, otherwise he wouldn't have been so successful at hurting other people.

  4. What an awesome man/example to use to get this point across. Well done, Bish!

  5. I appreciate poetry so much more now than I did in my youth. Thanks for this glimpse of Yeats.

  6. Yeats -- I used to be obsessed with his relationship with Maud Gonne.

    But yeah, you are right - no villain is as interesting as one you secretly like, even a little bit.

  7. Robert Hayden's 'Those Winter Sundays' -- that's my number one favorite.

    Hitler liked dogs. Some people claim that this is because he liked controlling other creatures and dogs satisfied that purpose. I like to think it was Hitler's one tiny virtue.


Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!