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The Crazy Jane poems (7) by W.B. Yeats


To my surprise, I cannot find Yeats' Crazy Jane poems on line, a series of 7 poems. I've spent several sessions seeking them out. Might've missed something. I find an endless number of exegesis on the stuff, most of it stupid, self-inflating on the part of the critic. At least not speaking to my sense(s). But not the body of the work. The poems written in the late 20s, '29 maybe. Published in '33, starting off the collection called, Words For Music Perhaps. In '29 he would have been 64, would live for another 10 years. In other words, he was an old man and finally having invented for himself a modern, youthful voice, a voice shorn of mannerisms. That's how the case seems to me. Now for the poems. Possibly on line in whole for the first time.

I
Crazy Jane And The Bishop

Bring me to the blasted oak
That I, midnight upon the stroke,
(All find safety in the womb.)
May call down curses on his head
Because of my dear Jack that's dead.
Coxcomb was the least he said:
The solid man and the coxcomb.

Nor was he Bishop when his ban
Banished Jack the Journeyman,
(All find safety in the tomb.)
Nor so much as parish priest,
Yet he, an old book in his fist,
Cried that we lived like beast and beast:
The solid man and the coxcomb.

The Bishop has a skin, God knows,
Wrinkled like the foot of a goose,
(All find safety in the tomb.)
Nor can he hide in holy black
The heron's hunch upon his back,
But a birch-tree stood my Jack:
The solid man and the coxcomb.

Jack had my virginity,
And bids me to the oak, for he
(All find safety in the tomb.)
Wanders out into the night
And there is shelter under it,
But should that other come, I spit:
The solid man and the coxcomb.


II
I care not what the sailors say:
All those dreadful thunder-stones,
All that storm that blots the day
Can but show that Heaven yawns;
Great Europa played the fool
That changed a lover for a bull.
Fol de rol, fol de rol.

To round that shell's elaborate whorl,
Adorning every secret track
With the delicate mother-of-pearl,
Made the joints of Heaven crack:
So never hang your heart upon
A roaring, ranting journeyman.
Fol de rol, fol de rol.


III
Crazy Jane On The Day Of Judgement

'Love is all
Unsatisfied
That cannot take the whole
Body and soul';
And that is what Jane said.

'Take the sour
If you take me,
I can scoff and lour
And scold for an hour.'
That's certainly the case,' said he.

'Naked I lay,
The grass my bed,
Naked and hidden away,
That black day';
And that is what Jane said.

'What can be shown?
What true love be?
All could be known or shown
If Time were but gone.'
'That's certainly the case,' said he.


IV
Crazy Jane And Jack The Journeyman

I know, although when looks meet
I tremble to the bone,
The more I leave the door unlatched
The sooner love is gone,
For love is but a skein unwound
Between the dark and dawn.

A lonely ghost the ghost is
That to God shall come;
I - love's skein upon the ground,
My body in the tomb -
Shall leap into the light lost
In my mother's womb.

But were I left to lie alone
In an empty bed,
The skein so bound us ghost to ghost
When he turned his head
Passing on the road that night,
Mine must walk when dead.


V
Crazy Jane On God

That lover of a night
Came when he would,
Went in the dawning light
Whether I would or no;
Men come, men go,
All things remain in God.

Banners choke the sky;
Men-at-arms tread;
Armoured horses neigh
Where the great battle was
In the narrow pass:
All things remain in God.

Before their eyes a house
That from childhood stood
Uninhabited, ruinous,
Suddenly lit up
From door to top:
All things remain in God.

I had wild Jack for a lover;
Though like a road
That men pass over
My body makes no moan
But sings on;
All things remain in God.


VI
Crazy Jane Talks With the Bishop

I met the Bishop on the road
And much said he and I.
'Those breasts are fallen and flat now,
Those veins must soon be dry;
Live in a heavenly mansion,
Not in some foul sty.'

'Fair and foul are near of kin,
And fair needs foul,' I cried.
'My friends are gone, but that's a truth
Nor grave nor bed denied,
Learned in bodily lowliness
And in the heart's pride.

'A woman can be proud and stiff
When on love intent;
But love has pitched his mansion in
The place of excrement;
For nothing can be sole or whole
That has not been rent.'


VII
Crazy Jane Grown Old Looks At The Dancers

I found that ivory image there
Dancing with her chosen youth,
But when he wound her coal-black hair
As though to strangle her, no scream
Or bodily movement did I dare,
Eyes under eyelids did so gleam;
Love is like the lion's tooth.

When she, and though some said she played
I said that she had danced heart's truth,
Drew a knife to strike him dead,
I could but leave him to his fate;
For no matter was is said
They had all that had their hate;
Love is like the lion's tooth.

Did he die or did she die?
Seemed to die or died they both?
God be with the times when I
Cared not a thraneen for what chanced
So that I had the limbs to try
Such a dance as there was danced -
Love is like the lion's tooth.
Jan/28/2017, 11:31 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
libramoon Profile
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Re: The Crazy Jane poems (7) by W.B. Yeats


now shared on Seers and Seekers as well
Jan/29/2017, 6:50 pm Link to this post Send Email to libramoon   Send PM to libramoon Blog
 


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