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Kaze: I Will Arise and Go Now


The Irish poet William Butler Yeats wrote great poetry for 50 years. But it’s a little poem, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” that is best-known and most beloved. Time was, everybody knew these lines:
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles
   made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the
   honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

Aha! I can see you’re getting that dreamy look in your eye. You want that cabin. Not necessarily the clay and wattles part, but certainly the living alone in the bee-loud glade part.
I have one. It’s on a mountainside in West Virginia, about 60 miles from where I live my urban/suburban life. From 35 years’ experience there, I can tell you that Yeats had the right idea. I drive to the cabin most weekends, and in fact that’s where I write these posts.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes
   dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the
   cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple
   glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

True, indeed. Peace comes dropping pretty darn quick when you’ve managed to get out of town and past the traffic and at last you’re in the woods, down the dirt road and up the gravel drive, and you’ve stomped the snow off your shoes and undone the gate to the front door and inside you’re arranging a fire and outside through the windows the trees are angular and bare and how about let’s put up some coffee?

As for crickets singing and evenings full of the linnet’s wings—well, not this time of year. This time of year the precious gift of the woods is silence. Which is not to say that the neighbors’ dogs don’t roam in packs and howl a little, or that sometimes when you least want them to, dirt bikers don’t roar down the dirt road and toss their empties in among the trees.

But overall it’s perfect. Not lavish, but then Yeats wasn’t talking about lavish. I’ve got cable and a stereo and a cell phone. The delight is that when I turn them off—and I often do—what I get to hear is . . . nothing.

The appeal of silence is deep. In the silence the usual mental chatter subsides—not without a fight—but it subsides, and you don’t need to be a writer to feel as if you could write. Or read. Or nap. Or eat. All without the distractions and the unsorted, unloaded dumpster of trivia that is built into everyday life.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the
   shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements
   gray,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

The deep heart’s core is where I’ve been this past January weekend. I share that with you not to make you envious, but as a kindred spirit.

9 Responses to Kaze: I Will Arise and Go Now

  1. You failed. I am green with envy. This is as close to heaven as it gets. Yeah. Almost heaven…

  2. Kindred indeed, Kaze.
    I'm lucky. I live in a huge house in the middle of a forest in the middle of nowhere. Silence is accompanied by the music of the ocean. My deep heart's core, where I live and write, and will die (when I'm 120).

  3. I'm glad you added that last part, Deborah. Let's not rush things.

  4. We'll be spending some of this weekend at our cabin, too. The dogwood and redbud trees are amazing this year.

  5. Why buy an escape when you are happy in the trap?

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