I am home again and, as usual after such trips, weary as weary can be. In such a mood, I tend to find myself reminiscing about past trips and today is no different. My thoughts are filled with the journey Marianne and I made to Ireland in 1982. All of Ireland is wonderful but the West was particularly so and many of of my best memories of that beautiful land arose there.
One cannot be of a literary bent and visit the West without going to Thoor Ballylee, the Norman keep that William Butler Yeats and his wife George rehabbed and made their home. We did and then, later the same day I believe, looked up Yeats' grave in Drumcliff. That's it pictured above. The inscription came from the final lines of the final section of Yeats' poem "Under Ben Bulben." The relevant lines of which are:
Under bare Ben Bulben's head
In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid.
An ancestor was rector there
Long years ago, a church stands near,
By the road an ancient cross.
No marble, no conventional phrase;
On limestone quarried near the spot
By his command these words are cut:
Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!
The grave was small and simple. There are many far grander in the same little cemetery. There were no flowers laid upon it. But -- such is the power of words! -- I was profoundly moved by it. I lowered my head and closed my eyes and recited the epitaph from memory.
Then I stole a flower from another grave and laid it upon the Yeats's. Poets must have their due.