Sunday, May 11, 2008

Jetting to Constantinople

Arguably the greatest building in the world.

Tomorrow I begin my travels, once again. I hope to return, ere long. Given that I am flying, first, to Istanbul, in Turkey, here's a wonderful and very relevant poem.

Sailing to Byzantium

By W.B.Yeats (1928)

THAT is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees
- Those dying generations - at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come

1 comment:

simon waters said...

Lose the "arguably". It's not like the Pompidou Centre or Chrysler Building will sue you. Too many tributes are hedged in these days. Some book/film or other (I forget) was recently reviewed as "probably one of the best in its genre this century". And you stimulate more debate with full-on assertions (presumably one of the most vital points ever of a blog this century).
PS you want a pirate of the Likely Lads?