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.
2020 is a year I am expectantly looking forward to. I plan to retire in 2020 after 38 years of corporate life. May be that is why reading this poem today weaved a mini paradise in my mind where leaving the hustle bustle the corporate world, I yearn to be in the quietude of an isle full of serenity and simplicity.
Yeats love to return to nature and lead a self-sufficient and sedate life in this poem. For him, ‘‘nine bean rows'' and ''a hive for the honey-bee’ ‘are enough to survive. The poet's vision is of a romantic, idyllic, timeless way of life. Yeats imagines living in peace and solitude; he says he will ''live alone in the bee-loud glade.'' The only sounds will be of nature. There is no hint of the modern world in Yeats' vision.
He tells us that ''peace comes dropping slow,'' and ''midnight's all a glimmer''. He moves through each stage of the day, bringing his vision to life for us with his vivid descriptions and beautiful imagery. In the morning, the mist is like veils thrown over the lake; at noon, the purple heather (a flower ) blazes under the sun; the evening is full of the whirr of the linnet's wings (the linnet is a small songbird) and at night, the stars fill the sky: ''midnight's all a glimmer''. The sounds in this stanza are soft and slow, creating a sense of peace and calm.
In the third stanza, Yeats brings us back to the opening lines in this stanza, beginning again with the words ''I will arise and go''. The solemnity is reinforced and emphasised by this repetition, as is the strength of his longing. The alliteration and assonance in the line, ''I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;'' emphasize the tranquility of the scene Yeats is describing. In contrast to this timeless, magical, colourful place, we are reminded of Yeats' reality at thViewe time of writing: ''While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey''. The colourless grey of the pavements seems dreary and depressing and we can empathize with Yeats' yearning for the lake isle of Innisfree, a yearning he feels in ''the deep heart's core.''
Standing on a roadway viewing an arid landscape, I too am hopeful to spend the evening of my life in such mini paradise reading poetry and listening to Chopin or Schubert. I hope you too will wake up to the call of the poet and spend a solitary sojourn in a ‘bee-loud glade’ once in a while to rejuvenate your tired soul.
I wish all my friends a very joyful, peaceful and blissful New Year
Painting : Henri Rousseau