For the title of my blog, I decided to use the first line of W.B. Yeats’ 1892 poem, The Lover Tells Of The Rose In His Heart, quoted in full below. It’s long been a favorite of mine. When we were with my father in County Galway about twenty years ago, my wife and I bought a lovely print of this poem, rendered in an appealing Irish uncial with illuminated lettering.
It is my hope to upload an image of it soon. It’s featured above.
While I have always admired Yeats’ lyricism, I cannot say I share his sentiment in this poem, or at least not entirely. Sure, there is something distressing about what is aesthetically unappealing. Who doesn’t like a rose-garden better than, say, a strip mall? The poet’s desire to have a world fashioned perfectly for his love is deeply moving. But, then again, the yearning to have everything “re-made” strikes me as a tad fascist, and the phrase “like a casket of gold” is sort of morbid.
So, if I have problems with the poem, why name my blog for it? Mostly, I guess, because of the way the words sound. But in addition, it is because I imagine this blog will be made up of observations mostly disjointed in nature, not seamless and coherent. In The Valley of Fear, Conan Doyle has Sherlock Holmes dismiss a theory because it fails to account for “the nasty, angular, uncompromising bits which won’t slip into their places.” That almost became the name of the blog—“Nasty, Angular, Uncompromising Bits”—but I don’t have a nice print of that quotation all done up in fancy calligraphy.
The Lover Tells Of The Rose In His Heart
All things uncomely and broken, all things worn out and old,
The cry of a child by the roadway, the creak of a lumbering cart,
The heavy steps of the ploughman, splashing the wintry mould,
Are wronging your image that blossoms a rose in the deeps of my heart.
The wrong of unshapely things is a wrong too great to be told;
I hunger to build them anew and sit on a green knoll apart,
With the earth and the sky and the water, re-made, like a casket of gold
For my dreams of your image that blossoms a rose in the deeps of my heart.