As I was driving around Connemara, when I was there on a short break last month, I often stopped the car to get out and gaze in wonder at the surrounding scenery. As I looked at many magnificent combinations of mountains, lakes and the sea the refrain from William Butler Yeats’s poem The Stolen Child kept coming to mind. It is still, many weeks later, circling unbidden around my brain. The refrain is:
‘Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.’
Now I know that Connemara is in Galway and that Yeats is associated with County Sligo but both are in the same province, Connacht. As I travelled around and drank in the raw and rugged beauty of the region it was so easy to understand how the elemental landscape could inspire writers, poets and artists.
The Stolen Child is one of Yeats’s earlier poems, he had an interest in mythology and folklore and the poem tells the story of a child lured away by the fairies to an otherworldly place. If you would like to hear the poem here it is on YouTube.