Saturday, June 13, 2009

pilgrim soul

Today is William Butler Yeats's birthday; he was born 6/13/1865.
I planned to do four studies of Yeats at different ages, but we went fishing, and this is as far as I got--sorry W.B.--a young Yeats, serious and pouty-lipped.
Tomorrow, a day late, I'll paint the older handsome sad (or is it chagrin?) Yeats.

When You Are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

A Coat

I made my song a coat
Covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat;
But the fools caught it,
Wore it in the world's eyes
As though they'd wrought it.
Song, let them take it,
For there's more enterprise
In walking naked.
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Suzanne McDermott said...

Fabulous portrait, Laura! True to your style and to the young Yeats. Personally, I wouldn't use the word "chagrin" to describe the older Yeats. Life takes its toll, though, and a poet's heart usually encounters deep sadness along the way.

cathyswatercolors said...

Hi Laura, Really a great portrait. Portraits are so tricky,great job.
Yeats was a handsome fellow.

A Brush with Color said...

Really great! I love this--I think your work just keeps getting better. I can't wait for the older, chagrined study. ;))

Sharon said...

Wonderful poems, Laura and excellent portrait!

laura said...

Thank you Suzanne ... I'm not sure what to call what I see in Yeats's--maybe I'll know better after painting it! Not "chagrin", maybe, but "disappointment"?
To me there's an element in his poetry of life not quite living up to expectations; a reason, perhaps, that he was so interested i Irish myths?

I am really enjoying these portraits of poets ... a quick google search, however, shows most of my favorite poets were born in October and Febraury.

Meera Rao said...

wonderful combination of portrait and poem!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laura,

Wasn't he a beauty, and your painting is too.

Lovely poems. You are so inspiring with your paintings and it seems every poem I've ever loved.

Take care,


Carol Feldman said...

Mmmm. Luscious painting.

Ruth said...

How gorgeous this is.

My sister's birthday is June 13 too.

You chose two wonderful poems. Wouldn't it be sweet to hear him recite them? - saying throat "troat" I imagine, with his Irish "th."

. . . Covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat. . .

RH Carpenter said...

I like the way you've done his portrait and the poems are wonderful. Looking forward to the older version.

Sherry Pierce Thurner said...

You and I must have similar taste in poetry, Laura. I am really enjoying your portraits and poems.

Cliff said...

Great painting, Laura! Burnt sienna and payne's grey, right?

The light effects and warm/cool effects are terrific!

Cindi said...

bold values,wonderful warm and cool colors.. wow!! fantastic portrait!! thanks for sharing..

Melinda said...

Excellent portrait! You really know watercolor. Poetry with portraits works well too!

shl said...

As Yeats said (in another context): "Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing..."--along with us:

This portrait is perfect BEYOND applause, and I can't wait for the older one* either!

*Would "rueful" or "disillusioned" do, maybe?

Carol said...

The portrait is wonderful! Thanks for sharing the poems.

Teresa said...

Wow.... this is fabulous!

supplies overflowing! said...

Wonderful work! With just a few lines and shading, you have captured the emotion.