Monday, July 9, 2007

Thoor Ballylee

I, the poet William Yeats, With old mill boards and sea-green slates, And smithy work from the Gort forge, Restored this tower for my wife George; And may these characters remain When all is ruin once again.

Yeats spent the summers of 1916-1923 in a 16th century
tower in County Galway, accompanied by his wife George
and their two children. Paul and I spent a quiet hour
here, alone in our wanderings up the spiral stone
stairways, in and out of the four levels which look out
onto cow pastures and gentle hills.
I sat on the sill in his dining room
above the high waters of the stream
just outside the flung-open windows.

As we were leaving, Paul said that there was something
down the road that he wanted to show was a tiny
house -- "Thoor Cottage" -- the sign said,
that had been for sale when he was scouting
the Irish countryside for property some years back.
In the end, he decided on the Westport house --
much larger and on the water. But imagine!
A cottage just down the lane from Yeats' Tower!

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