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Monday, May 26, 2014

William Butler Yeats

“I always think a great speaker convinces us not by force of reasoning, but because he is visibly enjoying the beliefs he wants us to accept.”

— William Butler Yeats
Irish Poet
1865 - 1939

So what does this quote have to do with being a poet, a writer or an artist?  Like great speakers, creative leaders must enjoy the work they do and be able to communicate their passion through their creative work.  If we are not passionate about what we do, our work will fall flat and be uninspired.  Are you passionate about the work you create?  Do you enjoy creating?

William Butler Yeats was born in Dublin, Ireland, the son of John Butler Yeats and Susan Mary Pollexfen.  When Yeats was two, his family moved to England to help his father further his artistic career.  Yeats did not do well in school, particularly in the areas of spelling, math and language.  His family moved back to Ireland when he was fifteen and he began writing poetry.  His first poem was published in 1885 in the Dublin University Review.  Thirty-eight years later at the age of 58, Yeats received the Nobel Prize in Literature and was recognized as one of the most important figures in 20th century literature.

Here are a few poems by William Butler Yeats.

A Drinking Song

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.

To a Child Dancing in the Wind

Dance there upon the shore;
What need have you to care
For wind or water's roar?
And tumble out your hair
That the salt drops have wet;
Being young you have not known
The fool's triumph, nor yet
Love lost as soon as won,
Nor the best labourer dead
And all the sheaves to bind.
What need have you to dread
The monstrous crying of the wind?

A Coat

I made my song a coat
Covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat;
But the fools caught it,
Wore it in the world's eyes
As though they'd wrought it.
Song, let them take it,
For there's more enterprise
In walking naked.

Here is Colin Farrell reading When you are Old by William Butler Yeats.