04 July 2019

Poetry Thursday - Brown Penny by W B Yeats

Among the lovely selection of poetry at the British Library Bookshop I found a new collection of short(ish) poems -
Centre, top shelf -  The Zoo of the New
"The Zoo of the New" is subtitled "A Book of Exceptional Poems from Sappho to Paul Muldoon" - but, why "new" if some of the poems are so old? Possibly because poetry is "news that stays news"... also, why "zoo" ... I don't have an answer for that.

The poems have been selected by Nick Laird and Don Paterson.  (And the zingy cover was designed by Richard Green.)

Opening the book at random ... here is Brown Penny by W.B. Yeats (1865-1939) -

Brown Penny

I whispered, ‘I am too young,’
And then, ‘I am old enough’;
Wherefore I threw a penny
To find out if I might love.
‘Go and love, go and love, young man,
If the lady be young and fair.’
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
I am looped in the loops of her hair.
O love is the crooked thing,
There is nobody wise enough
To find out all that is in it,
For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
One cannot begin it too soon.

A "man of unsteady heart" (or just confusion; love and confusion are often associated)  reflects on the many kinds of love encountered throughout life (a full analysis is here).

A good source for dipping

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