Monday, January 25, 2010

A Sketch of Thought

Poetic Liberty

Come let us mock at the great
That had such burdens on the mind
And toiled so hard and late
To leave some monument behind,
Nor thought of the levelling wind.

Come let us mock at the wise;
With all those calendars whereon
They fixed old aching eyes,
They never saw how seasons run,
And now but gape at the sun.

Come let us mock at the good
That fancied goodness might be gay,
Grown tired of their solitude,
Upon some brand-new happy day:
Wind shrieked and where are they?

Mock mockers after that
That would not lift a hand maybe
To help good, wise or great
To bar that foul storm out, for we
Traffic in mockery.


WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS in SEVEN POEMS AND A FRAGMENT

I'm tired of so much mockery.

6 comments:

Ruth said...

The poem is difficult, but maybe I know what you mean. Let's mock mockers.

No, actually, let's not. I'm tired of it too.

João said...

How if we chose to traffic in mockery ?

Trulyfool said...

I was fooled by Yeats as I read this, not expecting the (apparent) self-irony (?) at the end.

Mockery should come in small doses and deflate only those who deserve it, and then come up short of actual harm.

But there's a not fully-comforting tone left of 'constructive criticism' if we save the last 'blow' for the mockers.

I hesitate to think Yeats -- truly a great poet -- is simply reaching for a bit of social cooperation.

The thing doesn't feel strong enough actually to pull out from the fire any chestnuts clumsily thrown there by the swaggering 'great', 'wise', or 'good'.

But I do agree. The helplessness I myself feel and believe so many others feel in today's world can't be addressed by the mockery some apply to it.

The young will always prick the old. But now we see the 'old' having no effective recourse but to laugh or to try. There's a pathos in it that makes me turn away.

Makes me think of monasteries as a solution.

Peter said...

A little bit of (kind) mockery can be nice!

You photo is again outstanding (no mocking here)!!! :-)

Ruth said...

Yes, the photo is tremendous.

Claudia said...

There are days when everybody seems to be mocking somebody else. It's just so corrosive. All you read in the papers, hear in the news and overhear in the hallways is shallow mockery, no attempts at constructive, positive criticism or cooperation. Too many hidden agendas and too many egos bursting with self-importance. There, I'm glad I got that out of my system! Thanks for your wonderful comments.