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Plus: I love the word 'thraneen'

kellyrfineman has been posting some lively poetry discussions on her blog lately.

She made me want to write a narrative poem.

So I’ve been working on one.

Unfortunately, it sucks.

In the meantime, please enjoy one of my favorite poems by William Butler Yeats. (I’m not sure if it qualifies as narrative or not.)


I found that ivory image there
Dancing with her chosen youth,
But when he wound her coal-black hair
As though to strangle her, no scream
Or bodily movement did I dare,
Eyes under eyelids did so gleam;
Love is like the lion's tooth.

When She, and though some said she played
I said that she had danced heart's truth,
Drew a knife to strike him dead,
I could but leave him to his fate;
For no matter what is said
They had all that had their hate;
Love is like the lion's tooth.

Did he die or did she die?
Seemed to die or died they both?
God be with the times when I
Cared not a thraneen for what chanced
So that I had the limbs to try
Such a dance as there was danced -
Love is like the lion's tooth.


Apr. 14th, 2006 03:49 pm (UTC)
Fantastic. I love Yeats. I had to hunt around to find a definition for thraneen, which I interpreted as "I don't give a fig/rat's ass", and it turns out I was close:
thrawneen, thraneen, traneen
// n. a straw, a rush; something of little or no value; thrawneens n.pl. long stems of dog's tail grass; a hard stem of a rush used to free the tube of a smoker's pipe; fig. long spindly legs < Ir. tráithnín. 'I don't give a traneen for your opinion', 'Them cows haven't had a thrawneeen of hay for the last two days'; Canon Sheehan, Glenanaar, 181: "'I don't care a thraneen for all that the gossips can say agian her'".

Thanks for the new word, and for the belly laugh I got when I took the cut and saw your first line. Keep working on yours -- and do try to use thraneen in there somewhere.