Vacillation – Aug 15

My fiftieth year had come and gone,
I sat, a solitary man,
In a crowded London shop,
An open book and empty cup
On the marble table-top.
While on the shop and street I gazed
My body of a sudden blazed;
And twenty minutes more or less
It seemed, so great my happiness,
That I was blessed and could bless.

-W.B. Yeats

Category: William Butler Yeats One comment »

One Response to “Vacillation – Aug 15”

  1. Andrew Ball

    This is what David Piper in his lovely ‘Companion Guide to London’ (published in 1964) says about this haunting poem.

    ‘…No. 5 [ Woburn Walk, Bloomsbury] , where W.B. Yeats had his London foothold between 1895 and 1919; a poet of whose work one does not think in terms of either London or Bloomsbury, but of the Celtic twilight, of Byzantium, of the fierce bitter and randy spirit surging against the ageing body’s decrepitude. But listen to this song of praise from an A.B.C. tea-shop:
    ” My fiftieth year….
    ………………………and could bless’
    So might one sit. mackintosh unbuttoned, the ashtrays full and rings of wet cups on table, and the green sky of winter deepening outside into cold night; there is for me almost more of London in those lines than is bearable’

    I now find Yeats’ poem and Piper’s commentary inseparable : potent and moving.

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