Mémoire d’un poète : « the day of his death was a dark cold day »

yeatswilliam

In Memory of W. B. Yeats by  W. H. Auden (ou Yeats après Yeats…)

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I

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He disappeared in the dead of winter:
The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted,
And snow disfigured the public statues;
The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.
What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.

Far from his illness
The wolves ran on through the evergreen forests,
The peasant river was untempted by the fashionable quays;
By mourning tongues
The death of the poet was kept from his poems.

But for him it was his last afternoon as himself,
An afternoon of nurses and rumours;
The provinces of his body revolted,
The squares of his mind were empty,
Silence invaded the suburbs,
The current of his feeling failed; he became his admirers.

Now he is scattered among a hundred cities
And wholly given over to unfamiliar affections,
To find his happiness in another kind of wood
And be punished under a foreign code of conscience.
The words of a dead man
Are modified in the guts of the living.

But in the importance and noise of to-morrow
When the brokers are roaring like beasts on the floor of the Bourse,
And the poor have the sufferings to which they are fairly accustomed,
And each in the cell of himself is almost convinced of his freedom,
A few thousand will think of this day
As one thinks of a day when one did something slightly unusual.

What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.

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II

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You were silly like us; your gift survived it all:
The parish of rich women, physical decay,
Yourself. Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry.
Now Ireland has her madness and her weather still,
For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives
In the valley of its making where executives
Would never want to tamper, flows on south
From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs,
Raw towns that we believe and die in; it survives,
A way of happening, a mouth.

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III

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Earth, receive an honoured guest:
William Yeats is laid to rest.
Let the Irish vessel lie
Emptied of its poetry.

In the nightmare of the dark
All the dogs of Europe bark,
And the living nations wait,
Each sequestered in its hate;

Intellectual disgrace
Stares from every human face,
And the seas of pity lie
Locked and frozen in each eye.

Follow, poet, follow right
To the bottom of the night,
With your unconstraining voice
Still persuade us to rejoice;

With the farming of a verse
Make a vineyard of the curse,
Sing of human unsuccess
In a rapture of distress;

In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.

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8 réflexions sur “Mémoire d’un poète : « the day of his death was a dark cold day »

  1. Pingback: Mémoire d’un poète : “Que le jour de sa mort fut un jour sombre et froid” « Brumes

  2. @ Brume : hola ! le chemin est long avant d’être spécialiste ^^ Mais quelques mois auparavant tu aurais vu mon sujet de mémoire de l’année dernière qui portait précisément sur Suarès et Yeats d’où l’excellente surprise ici ! 😀

  3. Tiens? Un lien Suarès-Yeats? Et quel était le titre de ce mémoire?

    (je dois reconnaître que je ne suis qu’un amateur de littérature, sans aucun titre universitaire pour en parler, du coup face à une sorbonnarde… je ne pourrai même plus parler de Yeats ^^)

  4. Le titre était l’imaginaire celtique, sujet rarement étudié en ce qui concerne Suarès, dans Ellys et Thanatos et, pour Yeats, The Land’s of Heart Desire et The Shadowy Waters.

    Quant aux compétences pour parler littérature, plus j’avance plus j’ai l’impression de m’enfoncer donc vraiment la fac n’y fait rien 😉

  5. Je suis en tout cas positivement surpris de voir qu’André Suarès conserve quelque attrait dans le monde universitaire. Je n’arrive même pas à me résoudre à finir (si c’est possible) le voyage du Condottière, car je voudrais ne jamais l’achever…

    Je continuerai donc à parler littérature ici alors ;). Je traverse au gré de mes humeurs la mer des classiques, alors il ne faut pas s’étonner des lacunes, ni s’offusquer des interprétations.

  6. Les attraits qu’il a pu conserver à l’université sont vraiment, vraiment infimes malheureusement ! en espérant que ça finisse par changer !

    Excellent ! 😉 J’apprécie beaucoup ce blog ! Merci

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