This poem by W.B. Yeats is not normally associated with Advent or Christmas but for me it has a quality of yearning and some sentiments that sit well with this time of the year when "peace comes dropping slow "
The poem draws on one of Yeats' talismanic landscapes, that of Co. Sligo.
He was prompted to write the poem in London where he felt exiled from the rural beauty he captures so brilliantly in the poem.
When Yeats was a child, his father had read to him from Walden by Thoreau and Yeats described his inspiration for the poem by saying that while he was a teenager, he wished to imitate Thoreau by living on Innisfree, an uninhabited island in Lough Gill. The sound of water coming from a fountain in a shop window in Fleet Street reminded Yeats of the lake that he had previously seen, and it is this inspiration that Yeats credits for the creation of the poem.
He remembers Innisfree as a utopia that would supply all his needs. His memory tricks him into thinking it had a beautiful summer climate all year round.
So what is the connection of this to Advent and Christmas. One side of Christmas embodies childhood and magic and make- believe, the part of our psyche that instinctively hard wires us to recapture the innocence and awesome wonder of a child.
But the harsh reality of Christmas is that it cannot continue all year round and it cannot supply all our needs. In fact it is the heightened and unrealistic expectations of the season that can cause so many problems. We want to be happy, we want to be generous, we want to get along with everyone but we fail miserably.
But somewhere too in our souls we carry the garden of Eden and the idyllic peace and quiet of a life in freedom with our God. That desire and hope can never be extinguished.
Perhaps I like it because I too can so often feel hemmed in by the artificiality and the hubbub of the season's commerical trappings and am longing for the birth of Jesus "in the heart's deep core."
There are a few mistakes in the words of the video so the correct ones are below :