I Will Arise and Go Now . . .

IMG_1026After the whirlwind that was our visit to Dublin for the Penn State football game, we were eager for a change. It was wonderful for a few days but we’re the quiet types, introverts, really. We needed an antidote to the noise and crowds and . . . well, the noise and crowds.

We found it on the beaches and islands and hilltops.

And we found it in Yeats country.

I’m not knowledgeable about poetry. I don’t read much of it, and I understand less, but I do love what little I know by William Butler Yeats.

When I was still working full time and living in a big city, I kept a framed copy of Yeats’ poem, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” in my room. I even have an old record of Yeats reading his poem!

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a-glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

Innisfree always made me think of “camp,” and our lake, and quiet, still summers away from the world. Just reading the poem could transport me to that place where “peace comes dropping slow.”

Now, we live year-round in the equivalent of Yeats’ “bee-loud glade” and I try, always, to consciously appreciate how lucky we are.

So, as we drove through Sligo, I really, really wanted to visit this special isle. My long-suffering spouse acquiesced and we drove around Lough Gill.

First we found Dooney Rock, which inspired my other favorite Yeats poem, “The Fiddler of Dooney.

Dooney Rock

Dooney Rock

Then we drove down long, single-lane roads until we could see tiny Innisfree sitting just slightly off shore, tantalizingly close but inaccessible.

We couldn’t get to it. We couldn’t walk on it. But, that’s okay—that very inaccessibility preserves the solitude and the mystery and the magic.

Just looking at Innisfree, with Yeats’ words sounding in my head, was enough. I felt it in my deep heart’s core. Where is your Innisfree?

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50 thoughts on “I Will Arise and Go Now . . .

    • It did feel special, even though the little island didn’t look like much! It’s still so remote, even today, that you could get a sense of the appeal it had for Yeats.

  1. I firmly believe that we ALL need to pull back and retreat (daily?) to an ‘Innisfree’. Maybe the world would be a far quieter place. Yeats has always found a spot in my heart and this writing is one of my faves! As an “extrovert/type ‘A'” peep, I need to pull back frequently lest I get lost in the busy-ness of what the world considers “constructive productivity”!!! Yes, the ‘glades’ beckon and we must hear and respond or be in danger of self-damage. Awesome post……..thanks so much!!! Hugs…………………..

      • You are most welcome! The thoughts in this post really seem to be in the minds of so many. There are so many opportunities to participate in good/fun things that “over-commitment” is stealing our peace. Reading this, i hope, will help someone to recapture a simpler life. I’m thrilled that others appreciate your thoughts, too!!! Uber hugs…..

  2. OH, you are transporting me back to a wonderful vacation…..Ireland. Truly beautiful, thank you for giving me a few minutes to reminisce and reflect on God’s goodness.

    • Ireland really is a fine and lovely place! We hadn’t been there for many years and it all came rushing back as soon as we set foot in the countryside! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Oh, how I remember my literature professor, Dr. James Murphy, reciting this poem with such heart. He originated the Irish Studies department at Villanova University many years ago. My closest Innisfree is my back deck and/or screened porch.

    • Listening to him recite–that must’ve been wonderful! And, yes, I’ve noticed, from your blog posts, how your home gives you great, quiet moments–it makes me happy for you!

    • That’s what he says! He’s gotten very adept at driving on those insane roads over the years but it always takes him a few days to get back in the groove. I come home all relaxed and mellow; he comes home pretty tightly wound!

  4. I love that poem – and thank you! I have been on a search for one to learn by heart and this one did not occur to me. Thank heavens for you! This one makes me aware that no matter where I am the sight and sound and smell of my beloved ocean is always with me. My Innisfree is anyplace by the Pacific Ocean. xoxo

    • This is a great poem to know by heart! Saying the words to yourself can become almost a mantra to help find a peaceful place inside, for those times when you can’t get near enough to the ocean (although, lucky for you, it’s a big ocean!)

  5. Visiting Dublin you can feel the Irish poets and writers but when you visit the wild unspoilt places you become part of the poetry. We love Ireland, even the cities and that IS saying something. Living in a very rural area cities can and do frighten me. Too much hustle and bustle.
    My own “Innisfree” is Cape Wrath on the most North Westerly point of mainland Britain. As wildernesses go this Scottish wild and lonely place is where I find the most peace. Followed very closely by the Ring of Brodgar on Orkney main island. The silence is so loud it fills your mind.
    Thank you for re-blogging the poem and the pictures I have just spent a quiet 15 minutes looking at my pictures of our peaceful “Innisfree” places.

    • I agree that the cities in Ireland are very manageable, as cities go–even Dublin didn’t overwhelm me. I’ve only been to Scotland once and didn’t get as far north as the spots you mention. I absolutely intend to go back! The Orkney islands fascinate me, with the megalithic remains. In fact, eventually I’ll do a blog post about the megalithic sites we visited in Ireland on this trip. It sounds like they’re finding new things on Orkney almost every day! And I looked up Cape Wrath and it looks wonderful, too!

  6. That poem is really beautiful, and I love the photos! I am also calmed by the countryside, it’s so important to get out to the wilderness once in a while, especially when you live in a city xx

  7. I suspect you know Ireland much better than I do, which is disgraceful, since I live so very much. I loved its quiet beauty, its misleading signposts, the genuine welcome wherever we went, and even the daily rain wasn’t an unwelcome surprise as everyone knows it always rains in Ireland. My Innisfree? So many places. But almost anywhere in the wilder parts of the Yorkshire Dales, or maybe http://www.lacsdespyrenees.com/lac-463-Etang+des+Truites.html near where we used to live in France. Nearby, but inaccessible enough to feel alone with the landscape and my thoughts.

    • It’s funny–we know parts of Ireland quite well–the west and northwest–but we’ve never (after four trips) been anywhere in the south or southwest. People tell us how beautiful it is but we just keep going back to the places we know we like, and those tend to be the wilder, more remote parts. I guess that’s what introverts do on holiday! I need to work on finding an Innisfree like your–more accessible so I don’t need to wait years to visit it!

  8. Visiting from Treadlemusic and thanking Doreen for sharing your post. I do love the poem you posted and your photos are lovely!
    Now … as a college football fan (Virginia Tech is my #1 team; PSU is #2 – my father has two degrees from Penn State), I’m off to check out your post on the game in Dublin.

  9. Lovely and special to visit places from your dear poems. In 1999, we visited many places from Jane Austin’s books, it was so beautiful. And on our honeymoon, we drove through Scotland for 3 weeks..that is my husband drove and I sat next to him reading Lord of the Rings…it seemed to appropriate!

    • It’s so interesting how places take on such special meaning when we’ve read about them and experienced them through the eyes of authors and their characters. We went to Cornwall and Scotland a few years ago and there were a bunch of women on the plane going to Guernsey because they had read “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.” Then I read the book and thought, “yes! I want to go there!”

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  11. Yeats is not always so comforting – try “the Second Coming” for a disturbing vision of our time: “Things fall apart, the center cannot hold/ the best lack all conviction, while the worst/ Are full of passionate intensity/ …And what rough beast, its hour come round at last/ Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?” Like you I find several of his poems, both positive and negative, recurring to my mind frequently.

    • I know very little about poetry but what I do know is that a lot of it seems disturbing to me! I think poets, and most artists, really, want to shake us up a little. I’ll stick to Yeats’ more comforting images. 😉

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    • I do love that poem and Yeats, in general. He’s about the only poet I understand (well, him and Robert Frost). I had a recording with Yeats reading Innisfree–sent tingles down my spine!

      • I can imagine! What a treat. I hear you about comprehensible poetry. Yegads – I have tried and failed at so many. Lately, I’ve come to like the poetry of bloggers Cynthia Jobin, Iris Oh and Margaret Mair. Their poetry makes me think without getting lost in a swirling confusion.

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