The Reality of Life on the Lake Isle of Inisfree

Speaking of bees…

I was reminded of an artist & illustrator whose work I loved when I visited home in August: her name is Annie West and I adore her Yeats in Love series, and all of her work really.

I especially love this one titled ‘The Reality of Life on the Lake Isle of Inisfree’. I could only afford a small print but it makes me laugh every time I see it. If you’re familiar with Yeats’ poem about finding peace and tranquility in the bee-loud glade then you’ll see why.

Annie West


The Lake Isle of Inisfree

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 honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

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.

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.

by WB Yeats


2 thoughts on “The Reality of Life on the Lake Isle of Inisfree

  1. Yes, sometimes some of our most resonant and beautiful poetry is unintentionally funny when viewed from the perspective of the pragmatic and practical reality. Thanks for showing the print.

  2. My French version :

    Irai-je en Innisfree ? J’y vais sans plus tarder,
    Pour m’y faire un abri de glaise et de planchettes,
    Neuf rangs de haricots, une ruche à garder,
    Ermitage qu’emplit la rumeur des avettes.

    J’y trouverai la paix dont les vagues surviennent
    Des voiles du matin chez le grillon chantant ;
    Scintillement nocturne et pourpre méridienne,
    Puis dans le soir s’ébat la linotte d’antan.

    J’y vais sans plus tarder. La nuit comme le jour
    Clapote l’eau du lac, à bas bruit, sur la grève ;
    Je me tiens sur le bord des voies que je parcours,
    C’est de cela que mon coeur rêve.

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