15
Oct
07

The Wild Swans at Coole, a poem

No, I didn’t write this, but I wish to God I had. This was written by W. B. Yeats, the great Irish poet who lived from 1865-1939. This is the poem that first got me excited about poetry in the first place, back in my teens. When I first read this poem, something came alive inside me that never died, even though it slumbered for many years. I just wanted to share this beautiful poem with everyone. I hope it moves you as much as it has always moved me.

~

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine and fifty swans.

The nineteenth Autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold,
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes, when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?

W. B. Yeats

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3 Responses to “The Wild Swans at Coole, a poem”


  1. 1 ~m
    October 15, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    Though I may never truly understand this, the words are truly beautiful and just.
    I’m jealous of Yeats in a way I don’t completely understand, if that makes any sesnse.
    ~m

    It’s ok, we’re all jealous of Yeats. 😉 But seriously, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Yeats is my favorite poet; he has been a big influence on my own poetry.

    -sps

  2. 2 Sam
    October 16, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    Easy to see the inspiration in his words, and the impact on your life. Thankfully you found him and this poem. Thank you for sharing.

  3. October 19, 2007 at 7:51 am

    What a coincidence that I should read this. I just got a book on Yeats. I haven’t started it yet. This was lovely Smith.


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