TOPICS > Arts

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

March 15, 2002 at 12:00 AM EDT
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ROBERT PINSKY: It’s interesting that the great poet of Ireland, a country long associated with strife and troubles, should have written a poem containing one of the best-known uses in poetry of the word “peace.” 

Here is William Butler Yeats’s “The Lake Isle of Innisfree:”

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.