Friday, June 26, 2015

Culture in Poetry

Being partly Irish, I am drawn to the overall culture and all things Irish.  I love music so I listen to Irish tunes quite often.  I have an extensive collection of Irish poetry and stories and love to let my eye wander over pictures of the Irish landscape.  Oh, I neglected to mention my love of Irish food!

I’ve been reading some of the Irish poets lately, W.B. Yeats, Thomas Moore, Patrick Kavanaugh and Oscar Wilde to name a few.  In my poetic contemplation over these beautiful works I began to notice a great sense of the Irish culture itself within them.  Each piece gave me a different sense of who the Irish are, what is important to them and how they live, think and believe. 

Some themes I’ve culled from the works I’ve read are the importance of family and relationships, love of the land, the importance of history to everyday life, strength of spiritual belief and a great love of life and living.  The Irish are a very proud and expressive people.  They carry their hearts on their sleeves and live every moment as if it’s their last.  Humor sustains them through thick and thin and their ability to survive is second to none.  All of these qualities of the Irish come through when reading their poetry.  I consider them to be some of the strongest poets our world has produced. 

If you’ve ever wondered why the Irish are so much in love with their homeland, then you’ve never been there or lost yourself in pictures of the beautiful, magical landscapes and architecture of this incredible island. 

In his poem The Lake Isle of Innisfree, W.B. Yeats expresses his desire to return to the peace and beauty of his home from the wild and raucous streets of London. 

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.”

Poet Patrick Kavanaugh expresses the deep love of a man for his mother in his poem In Memory of My Mother. I love his optimism for seeing her once again when he, himself, passes into heaven and his wonderful memories of her very essence. 

And I think of you walking along a headland
Of green oats in June,
So full of repose, so rich with life –
And I see us meeting at the end of a town.

On a fair day by accident, after
The bargains are all made and we can walk
Together through the shops and stalls and markets
Free in the oriental streets of thought.

While these are only a couple of examples of great Irish poetry, you can find many sources for them in your local bookstore or on various websites like the following:

Find some beautiful images of Ireland here:
Christian McLeod Photography:
Inishowen Photography –
Images of Mayo Landscape Photography of County Mayo, Ireland by Eamonn McCarthy–
Irish Dew Landscape Photography –

Try an Irish dish from:

Perhaps you have a favorite culture or are from a particular culture that also has beautiful poets.  Do some reading and see if you also find that the culture of the poets home is carried into the work of the poet.

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