Wool poems: The Cloak, The Boat And The Shoes

Posted by on Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

So, I’m increasingly obsessed with poems and songs about fiber arts.  Of course I am.  But now I’m going to start posting them here, for my own enjoyment, no matter the protest.  And we’ll just go ahead and categorize them as "wool poems" because that’s much more elegant than "poems on wool, silk, linen, cashmere, yak, ramie, cotton, alpaca, llama, and other fibers, and fiber arts in general."

This is an early piece by William Butler Yeats, whom I love.  Of course I do.  You don’t very well go to the trouble of getting a Masters in Paddy Studies (no, my diploma doesn’t say that) if you don’t love Yeats. 

The Cloak, The Boat And The Shoes

‘What do you make so fair and bright?’

‘I make the cloak of Sorrow:
O lovely to see in all men’s sight
Shall be the cloak of Sorrow,
In all men’s sight.’

‘What do you build with sails for flight?’

‘I build a boat for Sorrow:
O swift on the seas all day and night
Saileth the rover Sorrow,
All day and night.’

What do you weave with wool so white?’

‘I weave the shoes of Sorrow:
Soundless shall be the footfall light
In all men’s ears of Sorrow,
Sudden and light.’

by William Butler Yeats, From Crossways, 1889

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