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DPChallenge Forums >> Current Challenge >> Sailing to Byzantium
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08/29/2014 12:04:10 PM · #1
Sailing to Byzantium
W. B. Yeats, 1865 - 1939

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees
—Those dying generations—at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.
08/29/2014 12:11:14 PM · #2
Thankee, Don! I was just about to do that! Something for everyone in there, I daresay :-)
08/29/2014 12:12:20 PM · #3
Excellent!
08/29/2014 12:16:08 PM · #4
This poem was written about 1926, when Yeats was about 60 years old.

It was written between the wars, and you can see in it some of the disillusionment that followed World War I, but of course it more directly reflects his personal condition of getting old.

The country he's referring to can only be Ireland, a country which he variously abandoned and returned to throughout his life... a country where "the young" were indeed "dying" during various failed revolutions. Keep in mind that Yeats, this icon of Ireland, this revitalizer of Irish folklore and tradition, was a Protestant. In other words, it's complicated...

What elevates this beyond "I Shall Wear Purple" or "Dance Like Nobody is Watching" is the strange mythology he creates, the sheer reach of his imagination and the beauty of his language... the weirdness of Modernism has seeped into this "Monument" creating a glorious hybrid, something more lasting than most of the purer Modernist experiments.
08/29/2014 01:25:04 PM · #5
Was this an actual suggestion from the forums? Or random picked by Langdon.
08/29/2014 01:26:46 PM · #6
Originally posted by posthumous:

This poem was written about 1926, when Yeats was about 60 years old.

It was written between the wars, and you can see in it some of the disillusionment that followed World War I, but of course it more directly reflects his personal condition of getting old.

It is interesting to compare it with
The Second Coming, written some 15 years earlier, in the direct aftermath of WW I ...

Personally, my favorite Yeats poem is The Lake Isle of Innisfree, mostly because I learned it from a version set to music by Hamilton Camp.
08/29/2014 01:38:31 PM · #7
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by posthumous:

This poem was written about 1926, when Yeats was about 60 years old.

It was written between the wars, and you can see in it some of the disillusionment that followed World War I, but of course it more directly reflects his personal condition of getting old.

It is interesting to compare it with
The Second Coming, written some 15 years earlier, in the direct aftermath of WW I ...

Personally, my favorite Yeats poem is The Lake Isle of Innisfree, mostly because I learned it from a version set to music by Hamilton Camp.


He also wrote one of the great World War I poems, though he himself did not fight that war:

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public man, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.
08/29/2014 01:38:53 PM · #8
Originally posted by MattO:

Was this an actual suggestion from the forums? Or random picked by Langdon.

Did some research for you ... ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/0-4999/1031/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1128513.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/0-4999/1031/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1128513.jpg', '/') + 1) . '
08/29/2014 01:48:48 PM · #9
** Warning: This post has been hidden as it may content mature content. Click here to show the post.
08/29/2014 01:52:39 PM · #10
You didn't look very hard.

//www.dpchallenge.com/forum.php?action=read&FORUM_THREAD_ID=1142263

08/29/2014 01:54:06 PM · #11
Originally posted by posthumous:

You didn't look very hard.

//www.dpchallenge.com/forum.php?action=read&FORUM_THREAD_ID=1142263


I went through about 9 pages, I didn't use the search feature. I guess I should have, but it usually comes up empty for me. And the date requested says it's July of this year. So I didn't go back to 2012. Which is why I asked if SC could put them in there.

Message edited by author 2014-08-29 13:55:49.
08/29/2014 01:55:28 PM · #12
Originally posted by MattO:

Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by MattO:

Was this an actual suggestion from the forums? Or random picked by Langdon.

Did some research for you ... ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/0-4999/1031/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1128513.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/0-4999/1031/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1128513.jpg', '/') + 1) . '


OK I went through the Challenge suggestion forum and didn't see anything like this. I assume SC can just put in suggestions at will and put them in to scheduling?


I'm pretty sure i've come across this poem, or Yeats in general, as a challenge suggestion on the forums before. It's been discussed and proposed although i'm not sure it had a thread of it's own.

e.t.a - ah, there you go.

Message edited by author 2014-08-29 13:56:21.
08/29/2014 03:35:23 PM · #13
Originally posted by MattO:

Which is why I asked if SC could put them in there.

Given that SC can take proposals from the Challenge Suggestions threads and place them in the queue, it should be apparent that we can also enter challenges directly into the queue.

There has never been a rule or requirement that challenge topics come only from user suggestions, subject to prior discussion -- I've always said that "AFAIK about 90% ..." do.

Certainly there are some (e.g. speed challenges) for which prior discussion would be detrimental to the spirit of having a challenge with the same "starting line" for everyone ... I've always thought there should be several weeks (at least) between the posting of a new challenge suggestion in the forums and when it is actually used, so that those who frequent the forums don't have a headstart ... once it's in the queue of available topics I don't think it helps to keep bumping the thread -- maybe it should even be locked once the suggestion has been taken up.
08/29/2014 03:52:40 PM · #14
This challenge is over my head LOL! I will be more than happy to learn from all of your submissions
08/29/2014 03:55:00 PM · #15
Originally posted by jgirl57:

This challenge is over my head LOL! I will be more than happy to learn from all of your submissions

Just find a word or phrase in the poem which you like and can visualize and shoot that ...
08/29/2014 04:18:21 PM · #16
I've always thought it would be a good idea to have a challenge or challenges based on a specific poem or song rather than someone's entire body of work. There are many poems/song that are just packed full of potentially visual references, and using a single work makes the challenge somewhat less of a "free study".

Regarding the "queue", SC populates the queue, Langdon chooses the challenge from the queue. Easily 90% of the queue is member-generated, and 100% of it is if you count SC as members... One more thing: I regularly go into the queue and RESUBMIT old challenge suggestions that never got chosen and dropped down in the list to where they probably never would be. I do this with challenges that seem interesting and/or timely to me. I'll do it for YOU, too, if you find an old challenge suggestion that was never adopted and wish to give it a boost :-)

But in the end, it's up to Langdon what actually is chosen, and when.

Message edited by author 2014-08-29 17:02:40.
08/29/2014 05:00:29 PM · #17
Thanks for the clarification Bear_Music and I think this poem is a great inspiration for a photography challenge! I'm happy I have the long weekend to work on this one!
08/29/2014 05:14:59 PM · #18
Shockingly, I'm the first one in. :D
08/29/2014 05:25:25 PM · #19
I,m going for 37th.

Message edited by author 2014-08-29 17:25:38.
08/29/2014 05:35:09 PM · #20
lolol awesome.. I will try to find something :-))
08/29/2014 07:06:56 PM · #21
My shoehorn doesn't float. :(
08/29/2014 08:35:22 PM · #22
Bear Meat for Breakfast!

Who's with me?!

:D
08/29/2014 09:08:51 PM · #23
Originally posted by Lydia:

Bear Meat for Breakfast!

Who's with me?!

:D


What? Not in the mood to take a bite out of rhyme? ;)
08/29/2014 10:40:16 PM · #24
Originally posted by Lydia:

Bear Meat for Breakfast!

Who's with me?!

:D


"Fish, Flesh and Fowl..." Sounds like frogs to me... See? Easy-peasy, and you can ramp 'er up from there!
08/30/2014 12:12:38 AM · #25
"In dreams becomes responsibility" as Yeats said
But....
Throw poems here, oh Bear, and see how softly we can tread.....
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