Reading My Way Around the World

Saturday 13 June 2015

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Unwrought with golden and silver light,
the blue and the dim and 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.

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of one of Ireland's greatest poets ... William Butler  Yeats.

The poem above is one of my very favourite pieces of writing - it moves me to tears every time I read it.

We learned some of Yeats' poems at primary school and although I feel very uneducated in my knowledge of poetry, the words I learned by rote back then still have a beauty that resonates with me. The Lake Isle of Innisfree was one of those.

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.

Happy Birthday WB - thank you for all the beautiful words.


  1. Phenomenal, nothing else is needed to say! He was simply amazing! I read some of his poems at university, and I love Irish writers, I have to say. They have some depth that are like a collective soul, I don't know how to explain, longing for a "lost chain in space", I really don't know how to explain. The poem about the dreams at the feet of a beloved one... is just fantastic. In a world that values money over souls... those words are so timeless!

  2. Lovely. Never read the whole Inisfree poem before, although like most school kids I was aware of it. Loved the first quote too. What a delightful picture.

  3. Oh I didn't realise they were by Yeats! His poems are beautiful and I especially love the first one!x

  4. Beautiful! Yeats is a favourite poet of mine.

  5. Oh I do love Yeats, and the cloths of heaven poem is so lovely. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. I was always struck by his poetry and his connection with my country - India,
    One of his most powerful pieces is The Second Coming which I studied when I did my MA.

  7. one of my favorite writers of all time...peace comes dropping slow is one of my favorite lines of all time. I love that poem.

  8. "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" is extraordinarily beautiful. Thanks for sharing it. It is moving that he could be so open, raw and honest.


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