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Friday, 15 January 2010

The Stolen Child - WB Yates

I made this: Avid Reader at 11:30 pm


The Stolen Child

WHERE dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed:
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than he can understand.

1899


This is my favourite poem...ever. I love Yates anyway, but this poem (and the song linked above that introduced it to me)is so evocative and powerful, that it takes me to a fantastical world, where faeries and elves and strange old magicks still exist.

Based on an Irish myths and legends about the Changelings - these are faeries who kidnap children leaving either faery folk or enchanted objects in their place(for an absolutely fantastic reading experience, try 'The Stolen Child' - inspired by the poem - written by Keith Donohue)- I have always imagined a sort of between world that a child slips into in dreams, where they are offered a choice - to stay or to go away from their families, tempted by magical people.

What I love most about this poem are the flashes of mundanity that are the real world (the kettle on the hob) and the power than these simple items have to compel a person to want to stay in the real world, despite the hardships that we all endure.

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