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Eighty-three years ago, on this date, January 28, 1939, one of the foremost voices in Irish Literature, William Butler Yeats, drew his last breath at the Hôtel Idéal Séjour, in Menton on the French Riviera.

I remember being taught and later reciting the poetry of William Butler Yeats in school in Crossmaglen, County Armagh, a lifetime ago. I owe those teachers much more than I could ever express. This is for them and William.
We still love and miss you. Thanks for the joy and inspiration.
The Night Owls
I went down to the cool, dark woods,
when night owls were on the wing.
On earthly ghosts and raging floods
embraced my lonely pondering.
Moss clung fast to an olden tree,
near bank of river flowing slow
Salmon leap I smiled to see,
in silence, with a young moons' glow.
Fawn eyes bright, shone out at me,
from in the depths, and to and fro.
She licked my hand, while nestling free,
her tale to tell of the long ago
She told to me, through cool night air
that time and space are here and now.
Spoke to me of a maid so fair,
with haunted look on her pale brow.
An apple blossom in her hair,
she haunts the woods in search of him.
To heal her heart and her love fair,
and cease the lonely wanderin’.
All at once near a white oak tree,
a girl in shimmering bright light,
came out and gently called to me.
Then both did meld, into the night.
In an ironic twist, as all great Irish stories must have, the son of Yeat's lifetime rival-in-love Major John McBride accompanied the coffin on its final journey. Sean McBride, son of Yeat's great love Maud Gonne, in his capacity as minister for external affairs, represented the Irish government.
Finally, in another ironic twist, it has been suggested that it is NOT Yeats who is buried in Sligo after all. There is contentious debate surrounding this claim.
© John A. Brennan 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Views: 574

Comment by Rosemary Hayes on June 7, 2022 at 10:18pm

 I am in awe of this poem.A fine tribute to your teachers.

There is a brilliance about this poem.You’ve captured the atmosphere of the natural world and it’s like a painting .

Few poems have a happy ending but I’m glad of it.

Thank you.

Comment by John Anthony Brennan on June 9, 2022 at 4:18am

Thank you Rosie.


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