The Wild Swans at Coole by W B Yeats is about Yeats looking back at his life and the opportunities that passed.
He looks out at the water and remembers back to when he was a younger man with innocence and optimism.
But then life dealt out heartaches and disappointments to give him a more philosophical outlook.
The Wild Swans at Coole
The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.
The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.
I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.
Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.
But now they drift on the still water,
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?
All images copyright Ireland Calling
Do you qualify to become an Irish citizen?There are three main ways for a person to qualify for Irish citizenship – through birth, through marriage or civil partnership or through naturalisation. Check if you qualify for Irish citizenship
Did you know?Despite funerals being the saddest of occasions, they often produce wonderfully warm and life-affirming poems and blessings. The Irish have a great tradition for funeral poems and blessings. Find out more.
Have you heard about…Some of the most popular surnames in Ireland have histories that go back hundreds, even thousands of years. Several originated from the ancient Irish clans that ruled various parts of the country over the centuries. Find out the stories of some of the most common names in Ireland.
What about this…Brian Boru is known as the last High King of Ireland and is even credited with seeing off the Vikings who had terrorised the Irish for over 200 years. Find out more.