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Lines by Heart: The Lake Isle of Innisfree by W.B. Yeats

Written by Rachael Norris, 27th September 2020

The theme for our #DailyReadings in September is beginnings and endings. For this week's Lines by Heart challenge, PIPES Reader Leader Sam Owen recites The Lake Isle of Innisfree by W.B. Yeats. Put yourself to the test and see if you can memorise this poem to recite aloud.

I have a thing about islands and I loved this poem the first time I heard it. It seems also unusual to me in that it really focuses on sound to conjure up a sense of  place, not just the visuals.

Learning the poem by heart I really felt the words on my tongue – the bee-loud glade, the linnet’s wings and the song of the cricket. I thought I might go down to the local river to record the video, soak up the atmosphere and hear the low sounds by the shore.

But then on the way back from a trip to the seaside we took a tiny road through the Welsh mountains. Turning a corner, suddenly laid out before us was this beautiful stretch of water with its own lake isle. It seemed the perfect spot!

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

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 grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

W.B. Yeats

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