Thursday, August 09, 2007

Once out of nature

I have again immersed myself in the excellent biography of Yeats by R.F.Foster. Foster’s text does need several readings, a subtle and beautiful study. Surely that personality, those poems are one of the miracles of the Western world. Yeats must have been such a maddening person abounding with self-centred childishness, half-baked philosophies. In some ways craving for art, for otherness, must be a sign of immaturity, a sign of not having come to terms with the world, as it has dictated those terms. In that sense full maturity, full satiety is a kind of surrender: how could we not want more, strive for more than this? Yes, Yeats was childish, self-centred, maddening, but under what aesthetic control those forces were kept, what amazing, haunting poetry was written about our condition in the world. Perhaps real maturity is actually based on part on reckless folly, on not fully accepting this world, its harsh limits. “The light of evening, Lissadell, / Great windows open to the south”…

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