The Lake Isle of Innisfree by Yeats

Poetry

Here I am reciting a poem by Yeats, on the the beach. The pauses are because I am reciting by heart. I am doing this in response to a creative challenge on the excellent Lateral Action blog… There is a podcast called 21st Century Creative. It is a first series and I really recommend it to anyone who is interested in creativity. You can go back and listen to all the podcasts. The last episode will be next week but there will be another season very soon. There are excellent interviews with many different creative people.

This episode the challenge was to learn a poem by heart. I do this on a regular basis for my own songs but this has reminded me that I wanted to do it for myself. In this way I can explore poetry from the inside. I also help my children learn poetry for their school homework and they love to do it.

I have developed techniques for memorization which include repetition, analysis of structures, rhyming schemes and visualization. It is always impressive to see how quickly my sons learn poems. They are very good at it but they are also good at learning in advance. In fact one of the main parts of memorizing is sleeping. This allows the text to really live inside of you.

I should really redo the poem and maybe I will this evening!

I will post the results here as I learn some of my favourite poems. There is a huge difference when we read poems and when we recite them.

The line “I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore” is pure music to the ear and in the mouth. It becomes clear when we recite it.

My version: filling myself up with music

As I learnt the poem I repeated it like a mantra, letting the music of the words, the images, fill me up. I recited the poem at the end of the day on the beach to my wife. It was a little difficult. I possibly should have learnt a poem in French but my wife speaks pretty good English.

Incidentally it is very interesting to listen to Yeats’ own reading of the poem : it is not at all the way I hear the music of the poem. You can hear his version at the bottom of this post. Yeats was not as fond of this poem as others are. For him it was a work of his youth…

Earlier in the day as I walked through the streets, reciting the poem, it began to resound more and more with me.

As I swam out in the sea in the evening, I imagined the “lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;” as I stood in the city surrounded with people (“While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, I hear it in the deep heart’s core”) I tried to hear the silence and the calm that is at the heart of this poem. As the evening set (“There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow, And evening full of the linnet’s wings.”) I was looking at the golden cloud in the sky’s blue grey azure, trying to transpose this memory of Yeats’ childhood holidays onto this noisy mediterranean resort.

This wish to go, to leave where we are (“I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,”) fills up the whole poem. I began to hear the poem from inside me.

Reciting this poem on the beach was fun as well, you can hear all the seaside noises…

Here is my recital for what it’s worth.

This will surely lead to some lyrics or words of my own… A personal version of the Lake Isle of Innisfree.

This is also why it is a great idea to learn poems: you then transpose those ideas onto your own material… And Yeats is no slouch when it comes to beautiful words…

Keep creating.

 

Willian Butler Yeats

Here is Yeats’ version:

Do You Remember?

doyourememberphotoDo you remember?

Do you spend time remembering? Or do you spend time dreaming about the future? In fear of the future and sad about your past? Or look to the future with happiness and remember the past fondly?

Little book of poetry

I picked up a little book of poems in a second hand store at the weekend. They say you should never judge a book by its cover, but I fell for this book straight away. It has a pink cover, with a tissue satin like embossed cover and it would easily fit in your pocket.

The book contains poems of love. The poems date from 1360s in old French. Of course, love is actually quite a modern concept. And the French invented that, or at least contributed to the idea of gallant love. All the notions of chivalry and the troubadours that sang about it were first in France.

Some of the poems are very ribald. Which is also very amusing. Funny to see how people were so direct sometimes in their approaches together. Thinking of the changes that have occured in the way we live together, the way we desire one another. The summer suddenly upon us and everyone dressed in their best summer clothes… In France, in Paris we have been having a spectacularly bad spell of weather.

Birds singing thousands of years ago.

For a country that invented courtesy, it’s good to remember that France wasn’t even France before. It’s even hard to believe that the art of chivalry was born in France when you’ve had to contend with some of the French shopkeepers here…

I was sitting in the French countryside reading these poems, drinking red wine. There was at last a little bit of sunshine. It was a beautiful moment. Dinner was going to be ready soon. Couscous and merguez.

I always feel privilieged when reading old poems. Its like a ghost has come to you, they step up to you and you travel through time. You’re whisked away. Taken away from your concerns and you see that other times and places had other worries and concerns or even similar ones but with different forms.

It is magical, a voice, has sat, and waited for you inside a book. Your eyes scan the page and you can hear this voice. This voice inside your head.

The birds sang around me, much like they had hundreds and thousands of years ago.

Other news

Onze Onze black n white logo

We have just released, independently, the first EP by Onze Onze. In this group I take care of the lyrics and I play a little bit of trumpet. You can listen to the EP on the link above. When I listen to this music I hear my voice and the lyrics and I understand them differently with the passing of time.

Ghost words, future ghosts

Your words are ghosts of the way you were and sometimes they tell you the way you will be as well. The word takes you out of the now and through recording it, whether that be written down or recorded, the word becomes something else.

All I can do is collect words in my nets, and try to say them as honestly as possible.

Nets on the metro

I often write on the metro in Paris and it is like having antennas, listening to little bits of conversations. You have to try to listen to yourself as well. To hear what is coming. So, here with Onze Onze you have a collection of 5 tracks.

If you like Onze Onze, we are a totally independent organisation and we appreciate any help you can give us. That can mean listening and sharing, telling people about us. Giving us hugs. If you want to know more about the group here are lots of our links:

ONZE ONZE – 1st EP YELLOW OUT ON JUNE 23rd 2016
BANDCAMP : https://onzeonze.bandcamp.com
FACEBOOK : https://www.facebook.com/onzeonzemusic/
SOUNDCLOUD : https://soundcloud.com/11-11music-121438745
WEBSITE: https://onzeonzemusic.wordpress.com/

Zarboth back in the saddle.

http://zarboth.com/

That is it- these are our last two dates… for the summer! Here they are and please let people you know that are nearby…

1 July 2016 @ Festival La Ferme à Melrand, 56310 Melrand, France

2 July 2016 @ Chez Lulu, 2 rue du pont golhen, 56230 Larré, France

That will be it for the summer, but more news about Zarboth shortly!

Apart from that?

Playing trumpet in the sun. Playing trumpet as the boat sinks…

https://www.instagram.com/macdarasmith/

Have a great week!