Tag Archives: Ireland

The Condition of Quiet that Is the Condition of Vision

ireland08

Some French writer that I read when I was a boy, said that the desert went into the heart of the Jews in their wanderings and made them what they are. I cannot remember by what argument he proved them to be even yet the indestructible children of earth, but it may well bet hat the elements have their children. If we knew the Fire Worshipers better we might find that their centuries of pious observance have been rewarded, and that the fire has given them a little of its nature; and I am certain that the water, the water of the seas and of lakes and of mist and rain, has all but made the Irish after its image. Images form themselves in our minds perpetually as if they were reflected in some pool. We gave ourselves up in old times to mythology, and saw the Gods everywhere. We talked to them face to face, and the stories of that communion are so many that I think they outnumber all the like stories of all the rest of Europe. Even today our country people speak with the dead and with some who perhaps have never died as we understand death; and even our educated people pass without great difficulty into the condition of quiet that is the condition of vision. We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us that they may see, it may be, their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our quiet. Did not the wise Porphyry think that all souls come to be born because of water, and that “even the generation of images in the mind is from water”?

From The Celtic Twilight by William Butler Yeats

Picture found here.

Tuesday Poetry Blogging


Patterns for Arans

~ Linda Norton

We could paint semi-darkness in semi-darkness. And the ‘right lighting’ of a picture could be semi-darkness.
Wittgenstein, from Remarks on Color

These islands lie off the west coast of Ireland
as if nothing matters.
The people have lived here for centuries
with only a thin covering of soil over the surface.
Great use is made of the seaweed,
the cattle swimming out.

The women here are justly famous.
They weave their own tweed
and make a type of belt called criss.
The heavy Atlantic seas,
the slip stitch.
The difficulty of the patterns
are never written down.

Most impressive and rich, the trellis pattern
and the rope, the tribute to the hardworking bee.
But sometimes their knitting shows mistakes,
with a true Irish touch of nothing
really matters, a careless nonchalance
of the crossing of their cables.

And note mistakes in the simple patterns:
forked lightning or cliff paths,
small fields fenced with stone,
the ups and downs of married life,
the mosses.

The openwork has a religious
significance or none.
Sometimes the clarity of the pattern is
lost through the use of
very fine wool.

Green from the mosses, brown
from the seaweed, grey and cream
color from the stones and pebbles:
many are distinctly over-bobbled.
No matter. They are too lovely
to be lost. Wool and knitting
leaflets can be obtained.

In no case is the whole pattern given.
There are certain gaps and yawns
and part of the pattern is left out
as if it doesn’t matter,
or was too lovely,
so was lost.

Some of the simple patterns
are charming for children’s jerseys.
This one, for example,
would be lovely on a child.

Picture found here.