Diary of the Plague Year: Day 94 17 June 2020: Quotidian Poetry: W. B. Yeats (1865 – 1939)


That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees,
—Those dying generations—at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.
O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.
Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.


POETRY 1900 TO 1975

Editor George MacBeth

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 52 6 May 2020: Quotidian Poetry: Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)

         Where the flat water
Came pouring over the weir out of Lough Neagh
As if it had reached an edge of the flat earth
And fallen shining to the continuous
Present of the Bann.
         Where the checkpoint used to be.
Where the rebel boy was hanged in ’98.
Where negative ions in the open air
Are poetry to me.  As once before
The slime and silver of the fattened eel.


Electric Light

Faber & Faber


Diary of the Plague Year: Day 18 2 April 2020: Quotidian Poetry Michael Longley

Michael Longley

Telling Yellow
after Winifred Nicholson: a found poem

Yesterday I set out
To pick a yellow bunch
To place as a lamp
On my table in dull,
Rainy weather. I picked
Iceland poppies, marigolds,
Yellow iris; my bunch
Did not tell yellow. I
Added sunflowers, canary
Pansies, buttercups,
Dandelions; no yellower.
I added to my butter-
Like mass, two everlasting
Peas, magenta pink,
And all my yellows broke
Into luminosity.
Orange and gold
And primrose each
Singing its note.


Angel Hill
Cape Poetry