Do you know ‘Tread softly because you tread on my dreams‘, the famous quote from ‘Aedh wishes for the cloths of heaven’ by William Butler Yeats?
Every week I propose a poem or an excerpt of poetic prose from another author, quoted in my novel The Shadow of the Fireflies.
Each of the chapters of my novel The Shadow of the fireflies begins and ends with an epigraph, some written on my own, other quoted for their beauty and their direct or indirect insight on the narrative.
What is an epigraph ?
In literature, an epigraph is a prose or verse sentence most often placed at the top of a book, book or chapter, to clarify the author’s intentions or to provide a particular perspective on the content.
The term “exergue” is occasionally used, but this use is usually considered to be improper.
Sometimes, the epigraph can be found at the end of a chapter or book.
For my novel The Shadow of the Fireflies, the use of epigraphs at the beginning and end of chapters was obvious during the creative process.
A large part of my epigraphs are personal creations, in prose or verse. Some of them are excerpts from poems or novels by famous and talented authors and artists, or less known but just as talented.
The previous poem evoked the themes of resilience, revolt, survival and hope, with Robert Desnos’ “Tomorrow”.
This week, let’s continue the series of poetic highlights with the themes of love, gift, vulnerabiliy, dreams and their precious value… Here is the poem“Aedh Wishes for the cloths of the Heavens” by William Butler Yeats, both of these stanzas are quoted in an epigraph of The Shadow of the Fireflies.
“Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven”, Yeats’ poem
“Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
‘ Aedh Wishes for the cloths of Heaven ‘, original poem by William Butler Yeats.
- The shadow of the fireflies, synopsis of the novel.
- Write a good book: How to blow away the reader.
- ‘Origin’, poem by Maïm Garnier.
- French translation by Maïm Garnier : ‘Aedh Rêve des Étoffes des Cieux‘, de Yeats.
- ‘Freedom‘, poem by Paul Éluard.
Short biography of William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and dramaturge with numerous influences, including symbolism, myths and Irish folklore, the Noh theatre. His poetry has evolved throughout his life, vivid expression of research and language creation, combining aesthetics and constant renewal, according to his own evolution.
Born in Ireland and in love with the landscapes and influences of his country of origin, of which he defended independence, he spent the last years of his life in France.
This poem was inspired by W. B. Yeats‘ love for a woman.
William Butler Yeats received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.
Listen to this graceful voice and music of a poem by WB Yeats by Loreena McKennit:
I propose to you to discover other texts of Yeats, his inspirations, his life:
- Official Site on the work and life of William Butler Yeats.
- WB Yeats, the 20th Century’s Greatest Poets?, by Jane Ciabattari on BBC Culture.
- Nobel Prize William Butler Yeats Biographical.
- A trip through Ireland with W.B. Yeats, narrated in videos and texts on Ireland’s tourism website.
- William Butler Yeats, the Magician,