Mistakes space instructive. In particular, they can come to be a form of analysis, as, because that example, in sports or music, when obtaining something a small bit wrong leader to improvement in technique or understanding.

You are watching: On being asked for a war poem


Many that us, in the imperfect memorizing the a poem, do mistakes, too—as though we were individual singers or blues artists, but without the traditional flexibility that those forms. Is it “many recognize dim and also faint,” you can ask yourself, or “many recognitions sad and faint”? And, prior to you can discover the authoritative book and check, i beg your pardon one do you prefer? and also why?


A dramatic show of this principle pertained to me on a hike in the mountains years ago. My hiking companion and also I did a small reciting follow me the way. I had actually a brief poem by William butler Yeats nice accurately through heart, other than for one word, in the 4th line:


I think it far better that in times prefer theseA poet"s mouth it is in silent, for in truthWe have actually no gift to collection a statesman right;He has actually had sufficient of <something> who can pleaseA young girl in the indolence of she youth,Or an old male upon a winter"s night.

The method I stated it come myself and also my companion appeared right, except for words I filled in—we to be both pretty certain it wasn"t what Yeats wrote. “Glory” made some sense, and had the appropriate rhythm, yet it did not sound right:


He has actually had enough of glory who have the right to pleaseA young girl in the indolence of she youth,Or one old male upon a winter"s night.

It might be taken into consideration glorious to please the 2 readers Yeats describes: As hypothetical (and somewhat stereotypical) characters, they represent those who have actually things various other than city on your minds; to you re welcome them, in a method when they don"t suppose it, could be thought about a hit of glory, in the method of art. And there"s one implicit comparison with the much more expected use of “glory” in relationship to war. But, no, in spite of such case-making, the word simply doesn"t work really well. It is forced.


He has actually had sufficient of striving who have the right to pleaseA young girl in the indolence of her youth,Or one old guy upon a winter"s night.

You can say because that “striving” the it makes much more sense than “glory,” and that the is in the right crucial for the poem, in maintaining with the formality the an invitation declined. However there"s a flatness come “striving”: it doesn"t add much an ext in the way of believed or feeling 보다 the place-holder “something.”


As shortly as we came off the mountain, we visited a bookstore (and bought the book, in a type of karma-conscious spirit). Words Yeats actually uses is tougher, more harshly wild and, in a way dismissive, than anything we had actually come up with; over there it to be on the page, type of shocking:


I think it far better that in times choose theseA poet"s mouth it is in silent, for in truthWe have no gift to set a statesman right;He has actually had enough of meddling who can pleaseA young girl in the indolence of her youth,Or an old guy upon a winter"s night.
Click the arrowhead on the audio player below tohearRobert Pinskyread Wiliam servant Yeats" "On gift Asked for a battle Poem." You can alsodownloadthe recording orsubscribetoubraintv-jp.com"s poetry Podcast top top iTunes.

One result of “meddling” is to restore the historical context: The war in concern is human being War I, around which an irish poet might feel fairly ambivalent. In an additional poem in the same publication (The Wild Swans at Coole, 1919), “An irish Airman Foresees His Death,” Yeats has the young airman say:


In addition to the political context, the word meddling provides an audacious or significant rightness come the activity of this particular poem and its fabric: In another emotional context, meddling would certainly not feel right as a term because that poetic striving because that something more ambitious (or an ext glorious?) than merely to please. In “Easter 1916” and “Meditations with time of civil War” the interwoven historical and an individual elements room different, and also Yeats" ear for sound and also nuance is differently deployed. I felt, that day, that by memorizing his city imperfectly, I had received a an imaginative writing lesson native a great poet.


ubraintv-jp.comPoetry Editor Robert Pinsky will be authorized in conversation of William butler Yeats" "On gift Asked because that a battle Poem" this week.Post your questions and comments on the work,and he"ll respond and also participate. Forubraintv-jp.com"s poetry submission guidelines, clickhere. Clickhereto visit Robert Pinsky"s favourite Poem task site. Clickherefor an save of discussions around poems v Robert Pinsky in "the Fray,"ubraintv-jp.com"s leader forum.

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