Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Wild Swans at Coole

Instead of any commercial negotiations I thought about later Yeats yesterday. Had in fact planned to take a book of his selected poems to the bus with me in the morning but forgot. If you think of it, it is a very strange poetic transformation when compared with his striking romantic early output but reading Foster you still get such a strong image of his personality always remaining as it was: egoistic, wildly erratic seeming (not really being: his vast, unreal presence simply created the forms of approach that suited it, absurd or not), transforming all experience into amazingly powerful and economic poetry. And how "unrealistic" it is, how absurdly tangential to the real world. Or seems to be. Actually, we have the artist in control, or in some control: behind masks there are other masks and maybe a void in the heart of it all - who can say? How wonderful is this complexity that is Yeats, his poetry. And how the memory of him in a section of Pound's Pisan Cantos (amidst that deep misery) quoted by Foster echoes to us through the decades, giving such a vivid, haunting image of this greatness, simultaneously absurd and grand:

"so that I recalled the noise in the chimney
as it were the wind in the chimney
but was in reality Uncle William
downstairs composing.
that had made a great Peeeeacock
in the proide ov his oiye
had made a great peeeeeeecock in the...
made a great peacock
in the proide of his oyyee

proide ov his oy-ee
as indeed he had"...

Note: could not for some reason get Pound's typography in place for the text.

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