More synchronicity

On Friday, a friend and I were discussing Yeats, who has been my favorite poet since I took a course on him in college at age 19, and I recited his famous early poem, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” (1892), which includes the lines,

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

Also, in thinking about the poem recently, I had wondered what kind of bird is a linnet, since I didn’t think linnets live in North America.

Then I came home, went online, clicked on Laura Wood’s site, and this was the first thing I saw:

Girl with Linnet, James Archer (1865)

Now, I don’t go around reciting “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” every day of the week. What are the odds that I would recite a poem with a line about a linnet, and then, a half hour later, go online and the very first thing I see is a painting of a linnet, which Laura Wood had posted the same day?

After I told Laura about the coincidence, I asked her:

What let you to find and post that painting? What was going on your thoughts at the time?

She replied:

I was looking for a painting that was a diversion. I went to the site, Victorian/Edwardian Paintings, which I like, and I saw it. At first I thought it was too sentimental and passed over it, but then I went back and looked at the girl’s expression—she looks like she is trying not to breathe so the bird won’t fly away—and I liked it. Her sumptuous dress, the delicate bird and the sun shining through the window into a very formal room all make it interesting.

Also, 1865, the year Archer made the painting, was the year of Yeats’s birth.

I should also mention that In Yeat’s much later poem, “A Prayer for my Daughter” (1919), the linnet plays a major part:

May she become a flourishing hidden tree
That all her thoughts may like the linnet be,
And have no business but dispensing round
Their magnanimities of sound,
Nor but in merriment begin a chase,
Nor but in merriment a quarrel.
O may she live like some green laurel
Rooted in one dear perpetual place.

My mind, because the minds that I have loved,
The sort of beauty that I have approved,
Prosper but little, has dried up of late,
Yet knows that to be choked with hate
May well be of all evil chances chief.
If there’s no hatred in a mind
Assault and battery of the wind
Can never tear the linnet from the leaf.

According to Wikipedia, the linnet lives in Europe, Asia, and North Africa.

It is a slim bird with a long tail. The upperparts are brown, the throat is sullied white and the bill is grey. The summer male has a grey nape, red head patch and red breast.

Females and young birds lack the red and have white underparts with the breast streaked buff. The Linnet’s pleasant song contains fast trills and twitters.


Here is recording of a linnet singing.

See my previous experience of synchronicity involving Yeats and my fellow traditionalist blogger Laura Wood.

Finally, since we all need to escape from time to time from the insane so-called reality in which we live, here is a poem about such an escape, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”:

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

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.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 19, 2011 04:57 PM | Send

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