View Full Version : Yeats And Me

Ron Price
08-30-2005, 10:59 AM
:thumbs_up There are several complicating factors for readers in their appreciation of my poetry and the several genres of my writing. One is that it helps readers to possess what you might call a memory-bank of names, symbols and personal references planted, propagated and grafted in one careful arrangement of ordered writing or simply in place in their brain. Without this possession readers are at a distinct disadvantage in gaining any depth of understanding of my work.

A second complicating factor is that I have written a great deal about myself. Like the Irish poet W.B. Yeats, I have also written thousands of letters, large autobiographical accounts, innumerable essays, published and unpublished, introductions to various pieces of work, millions of words in prose-poetic form, explanatory notes, talks, the beginnings of novels. How far can I be trusted as a reporter on my own life, the life of my society and of my religion? Should all of my writings be considered as ancillary parts in one large self-construction, but possessing no objective reliability. These are questions that can be legitimately asked about the oeuvre of Yeats. Alasdair D.F. Macrae asks these questions in the introduction to his book on Yeats,1 but gives no categorical answer. –Ron Price with thanks to A.D.F. Macrae, W.B. Yeats: A Literary Life, MacMillan, London, 1995, p.3. :alien:

These same questions
can be asked about my works
with many possible answers
for these words of mine are
not rootless flowers but are
the speech of a man, standing
alone and by himself for years,
at the beginnings of his community,
on a path no other man has gone,
accepting his own thoughts
and those of a thousand others,
giving his life and his words
to the world as we all do
each in our own ways.

At the opening of that
Seven Year Plan you1 said
the poet writes of his life,
out of its tragedy, remorse,
lost love, loneliness, no bundle
of incoherence or accident and
not everything about everything.
But I am not a reliable assessor
of those several proportions
that make up the me that is me
and the changes and chances
of these my earthly days are
far from tidy, patterned, glib,
formulaic…many rags & bones. :argue: 1 Yeats in 1937 -Ron Price August 31st 2005

Ron Price
08-30-2005, 11:05 AM
The above piece reminds me of:

You think it horrible that lust and rage
Should dance attendance upon my old age;
They were not such a plague when I was young:
What else have I to spur me into song?
-W.B. Yeats in On Poetry and Poets, T.S. Eliot, Faber and Faber, London, 1947, p.257.

Can it be that I do not envy any more?
No desire to be young or handsome?
No desire to receive some recognition
by being elected or appointed?
Perhaps a wishing that I might have
become something more: purer?
more independent? more courageous?
Horace said those who envy grow thin.
That’s why I’m getting chubby.
Found: a sign for the absense of
the least trace of envy--
chubby old men and women.
No, that can’t be.

I’ve been envying all my life.
There was always someone better
at something than me. Now, well,
I just don’t care. Is this the root
of my spiritual gainer: insouciance?
The contextual nouances for envy
are multitudinous and I must confess
that occasionally, even now, admiration
finds envy’s trace element like a cold wind
from the Arctic blowing faintly, so
faintly across my face. I nearly miss it;
it goes so fast, but it stick’s in my liver,
or is it my kidney, unbeknownst.
Envy’s microscopic trace, extracted,
purple? black? colourless? only the
psychoanalytic-geologist would know for sure.

There’s been a thinning going on
underneath my nose leaving my
wanting faculty highly pruned, sorted.
What, pray, has slaked my envy?
Has that primary envy of my mother’s
breast just run out of gas?
This theological problem, abating,
perhaps is taking a new form: pride.
Good God, no! Desire’s quiet new receptacle.
Erudition, those who can amuse, who have
money to travel, those who have radiant acquiescence,
courage--the list seems endless, quieter
but endless. Lots of work still to do.

Ron Price
28 November 1995