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Ephemera

by Danielle Berrin

October 31, 2012 | 6:20 pm

I'm not sure a Hollywood blog has any business writing about Yeats but I came across the most wonderful poem. And I've seen a fairly good movie about Keats, "Bright Star" (with the wonderful, wonderful Ben Whishaw), so I'm hoping an artistic concern with one poet might extend to them all. Anyways, there's probably a movie about Yeats I haven't seen since his romantic life was certainly cinematic -- "personal melodrama on an epic scale," The Atlantic once called it. He proposed to his great love Maud Gonne four times; though she refused each one. And when they finally consummated their relationship one night in Paris, it did not go well. He later married the much younger Georgie Hyde-Lees, with whom he had two children, and though she knew of his affairs, she was fiercely loyal: "When you are dead," she once wrote, according to Terence Brown's "The Life of W. B. Yeats: A Critical Biography‎," "people will talk about your love affairs, but I shall say nothing, for I will remember how proud you were."

I actually think this poem, "Ephemera" is well suited to Hollywood, land of many fleeting things, but enduring dreams.

 

An excerpt:

'Your eyes that once were never weary of mine

Are bowed in sorrow under pendulous lids,

Because our love is waning.'

              And then she:

'Although our love is waning, let us stand 

By the lone border of the lake once more, 

Together in that hour of gentleness

When the poor tired child, Passion, falls asleep:

How far away the stars seem, and how far

Is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart!'

 

Pensive they paced along the faded leaves....

 

Autumn was over him: and now they stood

On the lone border of the lake once more:

Turning, he saw that she had thrust dead leaves

Gathered in silence, dewy as her eyes

In bosom and hair.

        'Ah, do not mourn,' he said,

'That we are tired, for other loves await us;

Hate on and love through unrepining hours.

Before us lies eternity; our souls

Are love, and a continual fairwell.'

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Danielle Berrin writes the Hollywood Jew blog, a cutting edge, values-based take on the entertainment industry for jewishjournal.com. A Los Angeles Times profile dubbed her...

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