A Mystical Brotherhood

Mt. Hood from Twin Lakes Trail

When I first encountered W.B. Yeats in the 60’s I dismissed his early pastoral poetry as naive and focused entirely on his later poems like Crazy Jane Talks to the Bishop or A Dialogue of Self and Soul. Upon rereading his poetry lately, though, I can certainly see the appeal of these early pre-Raphaelite poems.

Ah, how I long for the good old days, prior to September 11th, prior, even, to the 20th Century when Yeats was able to write:

OUT WORN heart, in a time out-worn,
Come clear of the nets of wrong and right;
Laugh, heart, again in the grey twilight,
Sigh, heart, again in the dew of the morn.
Your mother Eire is always young,
Dew ever shining and twilight grey;
Though hope fall from you and love decay,
Burning in fires of a slanderous tongue.
Come, heart, where hill is heaped upon hill:
For there the mystical brotherhood
Of sun and moon and hollow and wood
And river and stream work out their will;
And God stands winding His lonely horn,
And time and the world are ever in flight;
And love is less kind than the grey twilight,
And hope is less dear than the dew of the morn.
W.B.Yeats from Collected Poems of William Butler Yeats

How delightful, indeed, to be able to escape the bonds of "wrong and right," not to have to worry about the morality or immorality of our country’s retaliatory attacks on Afghanistan, to find jo