Saturday, November 17, 2012

Off the Shelf Archive~November

Time to take down the other-worldly All Hallows selection from last month and move on to the (for me) always grisly holiday season. I'm once again indebted to Karin Gustafson of ManicdDaily for mentioning the poem I've selected, Anecdote of the Jar, by Wallace Stevens.

You'll find it here, in the Off the Shelf Archive for February 2013.

Below for a final perusal is last month's offering,  The Song of Wandering Aengus, by W.B Yeats. Please feel free to comment on either poem here as comments are disabled off the main page.

The Song Of Wandering Aengus
~by William Butler Yeats

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands.
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

Image: The Charmer, 1911, John William Waterhouse
Public Domain, via wikimedia commons


  1. thank you for the yeats verse....and wallace stevens is a great the tenacity in that last verse....happy saturday hedge...

  2. Well, thanks so much for the mention. I have to say that the Yeats is one of my all time favorite poems. Tears come whenever I read it. I memorized it once, more or less, but since this was in the last few years it didn't take that well. Still, it is a great poem for that, as so beautifully lyrical and narrative too. I think one of the most beautiful poems in the English language.

    The Stevens is so much fun. I realized after writing you - I looked it up - I had the line wrong - I kept thinking "found" when it's "placed" which is, of course, what the whole poem is about. (I'm not terribly good at placing - dropping more my style or mislaying!) But it's such a great poem for anyone interested in what art does, and what you personally do all the time. Stevens just so brilliant about this stuf. (Where is Ramon Fernandez when you need him, I sometimes wonder - or WHO is Ramon Fernandes actually? Ha!) k.

    1. And why is he so pale? I've often wondered, since pallor doesn't really go with a lusty Hispanic name like Ramon. I think both these poems, the Yeats and the Stevens, are so quintessentially what poetry is about in their very different ways, both magical, overtly in the Yeats, more introvertedly intellectual in the Stevens. Thanks for providing me with fodder for this feature Karin, as I often have to really search for material in my terrible memory. I had thought of doing something of Jack Gilbert's, since he so recently passed--maybe at the end of the month.

    2. Yes re "pale"--that whole bit is kind of mysterious to me. I had not ever paid much attention to Gilbert, and stil can't say I really have, but have been reading some with all the articles and he seems pretty great. I have to branch out more. k.

  3. SO beautiful. Thanks for reminding me of it. Sigh. Those closing lines!

  4. I nearly used this stanza form on RT today - serendipity.


  5. I enjoy the "Off the shelf" feature of your blog and the changeable right column as well. Sometimes I think Yeats spoke only to the Irish, though I like a piece here and there. Stevens, however, I adore, and especially the "Anecdote" as it helped me to understand how the existence of a jar, a word, a term, a school of criticism--or any form--could shape all that grows after it.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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