21 Jan For words alone are certain good
The Poetry of Inauguration Day 2021
I spent last night, until the very small hours watching back the live coverage of the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. One of my favourite moments was the reading by American Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman If you haven’t yet heard it you can listen in full in the video tweet below.
Full video: Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman pic.twitter.com/1FF4dfia9h— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 20, 2021
Afterwards she tweeted this. It was very appropriate that she chose Yeats as it is well known that Biden has a love for Irish poetry.
I AM ON THE FLOOR MY BOOKS ARE #1 & #2 ON AMAZON AFTER 1 DAY! Thank you so much to everyone for supporting me and my words. As Yeats put it: “For words alone are certain good: Sing, then”— Amanda Gorman (@TheAmandaGorman) January 20, 2021
The Irish Interest
If you love poetry, as I do, I would highly recommend following the Irish ambassador in America Daniel Mulhall. Here he recited one of Yeats poems Down by the Sally Gardens and dedicates it to President Biden. Accompanied by violinist Patricia Treacy, who later performed at the inauguration ceremony
Irish violinist Patricia Treacy came to the Embassy yesterday and we recorded this W.B. #Yeats poem, ‘Down by the Sally Gardens’ which we dedicate to President @JoeBiden, a fan of Yeats’s work. Patricia will play the violin at today’s #inauguration. @culture_ireland pic.twitter.com/UvBb2Yas4V— Daniel Mulhall (@DanMulhall) January 20, 2021
The full poem that the Yeats quote is taken from is called The Song of the Happy Shepherd. A bit long for me to ever make a pencil set from it! Even with The Second Coming poem I had to separate it out over 5 pencils.
The Song Of The Happy Shepherd
The woods of Arcady are dead,
And over is their antique joy;
Of old the world on dreaming fed;
Grey Truth is now her painted toy;
Yet still she turns her restless head:
But O, sick children of the world,
Of all the many changing things
In dreary dancing past us whirled,
To the cracked tune that Chronos sings,
Words alone are certain good.
Where are now the warring kings,
Word be-mockers? – By the Rood,
Where are now the warring kings?
An idle word is now their glory,
By the stammering schoolboy said,
Reading some entangled story:
The kings of the old time are dead;
The wandering earth herself may be
Only a sudden flaming word,
In clanging space a moment heard,
Troubling the endless reverie.
Then nowise worship dusty deeds,
Nor seek, for this is also sooth,
To hunger fiercely after truth,
Lest all thy toiling only breeds
New dreams, new dreams;
there is no truth Saving in thine own heart. Seek, then,
No learning from the starry men,
Who follow with the optic glass
The whirling ways of stars that pass –
Seek, then, for this is also sooth,
No word of theirs – the cold star-bane
Has cloven and rent their hearts in twain,
And dead is all their human truth.
Go gather by the humming sea
Some twisted, echo-harbouring shell.
And to its lips thy story tell,
And they thy comforters will be.
Rewording in melodious guile
Thy fretful words a little while,
Till they shall singing fade in ruth
And die a pearly brotherhood;
For words alone are certain good:
Sing, then, for this is also sooth.
I must be gone: there is a grave
Where daffodil and lily wave,
And I would please the hapless faun,
Buried under the sleepy ground,
With mirthful songs before the dawn.
His shouting days with mirth were crowned;
And still I dream he treads the lawn,
Walking ghostly in the dew,
Pierced by my glad singing through,
My songs of old earth’s dreamy youth:
But ah! she dreams not now; dream thou!
For fair are poppies on the brow:
Dream, dream, for this is also sooth.
Sing, then. I think many will say that their interest in American politics has only strengthened over the past 4 years.
And as yesterday the 20th January 2021 passed. And a new President resided in the oval office.
As he spoke yesterday about the future and going forward. About a zero tolerance for a lack of respect amongst those who worked for him.
I think the world breathed easy and the words that sum it up for me are.
Sing, then. For there is joy in the words of a good man.