The Lake Isle of Innisfree

“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.

18 Replies to “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”

  1. Hi Rebecca. I had been watching for a new post from you at your other blog when I stumbled upon this. You are so right about poetry being read aloud. I loved the video. Beautifully done. Hugs on the wing!

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    1. Dear Teagan, I went a little “blog crazy” when I first started out 10 years ago. My reason for blogging was to explore new areas of interest that I wanted to keep separate. For example, OnTheRoadBookClub, was to document my thoughts on books and poetry that I read, which is different than a book review. There are so many bloggers who provide excellent book reviews. I confess it isn’t my forte. And I also confess that sometimes I read the end of the book before I start. I know this is a horrible practice, but alas I do get too involved in fiction. LadyBudd was for photography, Clanmother was to look back into history (I must get back to the story of the RSPCA – what a history) ChasingART was to explore paintings and museums. And TakingTheKitchen was an exploration of food – history, security, markets, gardens. (I must get back to that one too). TeaToast&Trivia is about the stories of amazing people who give voice to our time, our place in the overarching history of humanity. I’m so looking forward to our conversation.

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  2. Dear Rebecca! You are such an inspiration!!! Every time I read/hear what you’ve been working on, I am encouraged to pursue my own passions!

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    1. Dearest Sarah, you have always been a light at the end of a tunnel (always liked that phrase). You take life on with enthusiasm and great courage. Looking forward to our tea time and podcast for The Book Dialogue!

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    1. Thank you Lisa! Always a joy to see your comments. I’m using poetry as a source of inspiration and meditation! Nature always gives comfort!

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      1. You are welcome, dear friend!
        A friend and I swap books; she too is an avid reader, and the last batch I sent her included a biography/life story of the Mississippi artist Walter Anderson. My friend emailed and said, “Lisa! You’ve saved the best for last! She was reading his story and enthralled, and searched for more of his images and loved them all. I thought of you, your series about artists in their homes, so here’s a start
        https://www.spiritualtravels.info/spiritual-sites-around-the-world/north-america/walter-anderson-museum-of-art-in-mississippi/

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      2. The Walter Anderson museum holds and extraordinary story. The website is brilliant and full of many journeys. Thank you for the introduction – there is an adventure unfolding…. Much love and may hugs coming your way.

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      3. And your comments are a great comfort to me. I have been doing more research into The Walter Anderson Museum and am looking at a post in the coming weeks. Art Galleries, Libraries and Museums hold our stories, cultures, memories – they are holders of our history. I am grateful for all those who have worked tirelessly to search, acquire and record – it is a labour of love. Welcome to another week of adventure.

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  3. This was truly an inspirational message. I enjoyed your special interpretation and the tone of your voice. The poem is exceptional, of course, and reading it out loud give extra emphasis and meaning to it. Interestingly, I have found that reading out loud of other words gives extra life to them, such as scripture or the reading of a letter received from a loved one or special friend. Thank you for your choice of poem and photos–really lovely!

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  4. What a treat this post was! I just loved your introduction and reading of “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” in such beautiful natural surroundings. To say I was transported would be no exaggeration.

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    1. I am so glad that you joined me on my walk. I am finding that reading poetry out loud is a form of meditation, a calming influence in a complex world that thrives on speed. I especially appreciated the strength and purpose in the words “I will arise and go now…”. No longer back, but going forward.

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  5. What a wonderful start to my morning, thank you! You are so right about the importance of reading poetry out loud. Like you and Mary Jo have commented, that phrase, the ‘bee-loud glade’ is perfection. Incredibly, it is quoted in the book I am reading right now – I had not come across it before, and now here it is twice in a few days!!

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    1. I am always amazed by the serendipity that occurs between Edinburgh and Vancouver. How is this possible? It is a sign that our world is more connected than we thought possible. Even more exciting, friendships are able to easily overcome the barriers of distance and location. Enjoying the “bee-loud glade”. Hugs and more hugs!

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  6. Absolutely one of my favorites!! What a beautiful location in which to read, and what a beautiful recitation. The “bee-loud glade” is one of the best poetic expressions ever!!

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    1. I was imagining being in a “bee-loud glade.” Saying those words out loud made it even more real. I have found that poetry recitation is a form of meditation. Focusing on the words, and forming the sounds and syllables introduces a calming affect. Thank you for joining me!! Hugs and more hugs!

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