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Dawn Breaks as Yeats Goes to Sleep

Yeats died before the outbreak of war, and his Nobel prizes and international fame was most seen through the Versailles era, with the illusion of peace unbroken while he was alive. Night and darkness is normally seen as negative, but the fire and light of war is shown here as horrific, and the dusk, darkness and sleep are seen as positive images for peace…

An age ended: he closed his eyes
Who of the time after death and before death
Had been the voice of its dreams

His words were its vision:
His verses its voice
His lines the Art of the Age

Of a peace as ace as the permanency of the night
That gave way to a horrific dawn
Of violence and death – this blazing sun
Of a new day of war we thought we would never again see
When the soft rain of dusk that comforting fell
At the signing of Versailles, smoke cleared, embers cooled
As did passions…

But notions stirred in the darkness, being its moonlight
The world was drunk on peace, preached through poetry
Him being its voice, to whose words ears and eyes waltzed
Until his eyes closing, the storm veils against Amergin was lifted
As if the curses of a thousand druids came to pass
A continent crazed on the narcotic ambitions of another
Threw themselves into the frenzy of the new day
More horrific than the last, the moon being the Baptist
To the Messiah of the coming noon…
When the sun danced to the music of Mars
The clay clotted in mans flowing blood
Corpses lay to fertilize a new generation of plants and trees

But before they would get a chance to grow
All knew there was coming a new disk
On darkness falling, peace would come again
– Let us always live for the night! –
A world afraid to hope was too worried to wonder
Of the night to come, Yeats now gone, who would be its bard?

Walter de la Mare and Bertha Georgie Hyde-Lees Yeats with William Butler Yeats and an unknown woman in summer 1930 in photo by Lady Ottoline Morrell
Walter de la Mare and Bertha Georgie Hyde-Lees Yeats with William Butler Yeats and an unknown woman in summer 1930 in photo by Lady Ottoline Morrell. Source : Wikipedia

Glossary

storm veils against Amergin – The druids made a storm to keep Amergins fleets at sea, but his incantations thwarted the storm. So too the speeches and alliances forged during peacetime on all sides, with Amergin being seen here as Hitler, and the Tuatha de Dannan in this context as the invaded peoples of Europe.

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