William Butler Yeats (1865 To 1939) was the first poet I read. At age thirteen or so I was captivated by his “Sailing to Byzantium”, it took me to a world far from the mundanity of my childhood. I have been reading in his poetry on and off for the decades that have passed. I recently heard a YouTube lecture on Yeats in which he was described as the greatest poet of old age. I see it now. Yeats was highly influenced and deeply steeped in Irish history and folk beliefs. He also as he aged became involved with what most would call occult theories. Yeats created a mythology out of his life and from that created some of the most sublimely beautiful poetry ever written.
“The Stolen Child”, reading time under three minutes, is one of his more popular works. I love it. In part this is a poem arisen from the famine days in which dead children were described as taken by Fairies. Sheridan le Fanu has written about this. Fairies are not pure beings, they are stealing children for their own world. Images of water abound in the poem, the faery is presenting a powerful temptation to the child.
Is there a poet you return to over and over?
Do you have a favourite poem by Yeats?