For over 50 years, the poet W.B. Yeats loved English born Irish Revolutionary, Maud Gonne (born today in 1865) and asked her many times to marry him. She was his muse, his inspiration for many of his beautiful love poems. In today’s issue of The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor, I learned that, “Maud Gonne campaigned for land reform, helped tenants fight eviction, advocated for political prisoners, began a program that fed lunch to Dublin schoolkids, and founded the Daughters of Erin.” My all -time favorite W.B. Yeats poem, “When You are Old” was written for Maud Gonne:
WHEN you are old and gray and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face among a crowd of stars.
THAT, my friend, is LOVE!!!!!