Saturday, March 16, 2013

Just a bit of Irish

Isabella Agusta, known as Lady Coole, led the movement to establish the Irish Literary Theatre along with William Butler Yeats and others. As an Irish folklorist, writer, dramatist, and a theatre manger, she also mentored Yeats as a young struggling poet. We visited Coole park in 2003 on our university tour of Ireland with college students studying to become English teachers. Now a national park, the estate preserves a piece of Irish history as visitors become aware of Ireland's struggles for independence from the oppression of the British crown. Once the center of literary activity for Irish writers, the estate's mansion was destroyed during the Irish Revolution. Also on the estate is the famous autograph tree where literary visitors carved their initials in the trunk of the tree. Located in County Gallway, the 1,000 acre park is a wonderful place to visit, learn about Irish literary history, and yes, to linger on the shores of Coole lake to watch the swans.

The Swans at Coole Lake
William Butler Yeats

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.

 The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All's changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.
Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake's edge or pool
Delight men's eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?

 And now

The Swans at Bittersweet Lake

Friday afternoon hubby and I made our annual trip to our accountant to deliver our documents for tax preparation. (ick). We had thoughts of eating out, but at the suggestion of our accountant, we opted for TCBY yogurt for supper. Then we drove by Bittersweet to see if the swans were still there. Many of the Canada geese have left Colorado to head back home, but the swans are still there. They were close the bank, so I was able to get some very nice shots of them. 

As wild and timid creatures, they were not too unaccommodating for us get so close. None the less, I was pleased with the photos. I am on spring break next week, so the two little granddaughters will come spend a night and I am hoping the swans will still be in town. I am also hoping that they have found Bittersweet such a lovely home that they will stay to raise their family. Each time I drive the lake, I fear I will ". . . find they have flown away."

Today we are headed to Ft. Collins to tour our favorite garden centers. I want to get seeds to start pansies and petunias instead of buying sets that are becoming so expensive. Hubby's tomatoes and peppers that he started are doing nicely, so I am thinking that I should be able to get pansies started.

I am off all next week--Spring Break, then only 6 weeks of school left. My, how time does pass so quickly. I need a break, the students need a break. We all need to rest and relax and that's just what I plan on doing. 

Have a fabulous week, everyone. 
Happy St. Patrick's


  1. Hi Ann, I love your tribute to the Irish and to the poet Yeats, who penned The Swans at Coole Lake.I hope your swans at Bittersweet Lake do no fly away and that your grand daughters get to see them, too!Your photos were beautiful of the swans...they are such regal creatures. Happy St. Pat's Day, Egretta

  2. The swans are so elegant. Enjoy your much needed break and I hope spring comes while you are off!

  3. Pinch!! Oh, I must go visit the swans--I will be very quiet. Wow--I remember the trip ya'll took in 2003--the time has flown (like swans). And now 6 weeks of strong emotions. Blessings on you!

  4. What lovely poetry! We see so many birds around here, with a wetland area nearby but I never see swans. They are so beautiful !

  5. I have never heard of that Keats poem before - very apt. Enjoy your seed sowing - I still have it all to do - just wish it would warm up a bit.