“Truly fine poetry must be read aloud. A good poem does not allow itself to be read in a low voice or silently. If we can read it silently, it is not a valid poem: a poem demands pronunciation. Poetry always remembers that it was an oral art before it was a written art. It remembers that it was first song.” Jorge Luis Borges
Poetry has been with us since ancient times when oral traditions flourished. Stories, cultural beliefs and traditions were given through the use of voice, rather than written language.
The sound of words, the dynamics of crescendo and diminuendo, the cadence, whispers, shouts and electrifying pauses deliver messages from mouth to ear. It is as if a poem has been given the breath of life.
Over the past few years, I have read poetry out loud to an empty room. It has been a paradigm shift for me to hear the words, filling the room with spoken images and symbols. I found that I gained a deeper understanding of the poet and the messages held within the poem.
And now, feeling just a little more courageous, I have taken poetry to nature. Thank you for sharing this moment with William Butler Yeats and me.
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS
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 honey-bee,
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 grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.