Lost Love, Lost Poem
July 11, 2012 10:44 PM   Subscribe

Help! What was the name of that WB Yeats poem?

Which used for a metaphor of his relationship with (I presume) Maud Gonne the imagery of a man and a star--the star being distant, cold, and without of knowledge or love for him, whereas he was filled with longing and unrequited love for the star and its beauty.

But in the end the poem concluded that it was better to have even this unhappy love than to feel nothing at all.

Ack! I can't remember the name, and the google has been little help, but I'd very much like to re-read this poem.

posted by cytherea to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The White Birds?
posted by bluedaisy at 11:07 PM on July 11, 2012

Or The Sorrow of Love?
posted by bluedaisy at 11:10 PM on July 11, 2012

All of Yeats' poems are here; I couldn't find the one matching your description in a cursory search.

Are you sure it's Yeats? A poem which kind of matches your description, if you squint a little, is Auden's "The More Loving One".
posted by stebulus at 11:55 PM on July 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

OMG! Wow! That's exactly the one! If different than how I remembered it. But it's the one. Thank you so much for relieving me of this itch I was unable to scratch. Many blessing upon you! I owe you something for all your hard work: me-mail me! Thank you! :-)

Now I just need to find the title of that book I loved that I lent to a friend who never returned it...
posted by cytherea at 12:06 AM on July 12, 2012

Perhaps you were conflating it with Yeats poem "When You Are Old," too.
posted by nicebookrack at 12:12 AM on July 12, 2012

No, it's totally a human weirdness thing. I have no idea why I thought it was Yeats. I had remembered the Auden poem as being more longing and gentle, rather than a general kind of sublimated and glorious "fuck you, bitch"--not to disregard of course, that there isn't rather more to it than that.

But it's an excellent juxtaposition! The Yeats version seems more personally directed and more ego driven--a sort of, you'll be sorry when you are old and ugly and I'm famous and have taken my love for you and lifted it up to more pure and heavenly objects (you could have had this glorious thing, but nah, you picked a baser path). Whereas the Auden poem embraces a more pure nihilism, a rejection of celebrity and the 1% beyond the dichotomism of lover and beloved to embrace a vision of egalitarianism and humanism.

Or, that's just what I see...
posted by cytherea at 12:58 AM on July 12, 2012

Thanks so much, I have a quote from that poem on an object, "let the more loving one be me" but never knew where it came from. Seeing the whole poem puts it in context and I appreciate it more. For Yeats fans, of which I am one, there is a book of the letters Maud Gonne wrote to Yeats over the years. Sadly his to her got destroyed in one of her many arrests for opposing the English. An interesting relationship altogether.
posted by mermayd at 5:15 AM on July 12, 2012

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