“The truth is like poetry- and most people fucking hate poetry”- Michael Lewis, The Big Short
I love poetry. Here’s something I really love, a poem by W.B. Yeats about some of the people who fell in the 1916 Easter rising in Dublin. Irish nationalism was a cause whose time had come, and Yeats seems to think the uprising may have been unnecessary. The people he describes were enthralled, as he sees it, but now that they are dead there is nothing to do but remember.
The world of the first stanza is the pleasant world of the urban white-collar worker, a day spent at not onerous tasks and an evening spent relaxing and enjoying the diversions of the city. This is where motley is worn, were meaning is the smooth functioning of the system, enjoying a comfortable place within it.
Life goes with the flow, in the third stanza. The flow of the stream, the flow of the clouds and birds moving with the wind. The stone does not flow, it is fixed and unchanging. Why not go with the flow, enjoy the social reality we are presented with? But stones do not flow. They are the fixed and immovable things around which other things flow, that make the flow something other than empty chaos.
Or were the four named part of the flow- from the harsh rule by England of its close-in possessions to something else, the harsh rule of England of all its possessions with the velvet glove in the iron fist of progressivism. Wherever the rainbow flag is waved, there England rules, wherever the Negro or Moslem or Jew cries out as he strikes you, there England rules.
Irish nationalism was a brief-lived thing- there was an Irish state for awhile, and it was not a nice place, but it was Irish and not English. Ireland is just another progressive shithole now. The heart at home not in the commercial world but in homeland- wherever the green is worn- was and may only be something dreamed of, but still we dream.
America is a very fluid place, and not much of a home. People come, establish something, and others come and take it away. Thus it has ever been and ever will be, but maybe we can slow the process down a little.
The loyalty of Yeats was to his friends, to the three he loved, but also to the one he did not, who was his countryman. As ambivalent as he was to the cause, he knew loyalty had to extend a little further.