The Length of a Moment, Contemplated (A Yeat’s Response)

{Image: Picking Flowers by Renoir

This week, in response to Yeat’s, a poem written on the fast ferry returning to Hong Kong island from Lantau Island. A bit of travel advice, cash is difficult to get in Hong Kong, so if traveling here please bring cash from home to exchange for Hong Kong Dollars. We are forever grateful to the kindness of Canadians, one in particular, Jonah, who heard our desperate story in the final minutes before the boat’s departure and loaned us the cash we needed for the cash-only ferry… all transportation is cash only, including taxis… We owe the world 70HK$ and will pay it forward and remain forever grateful to the greatest export from Canada, kindness… okay one of the greatest behind maple syrup, hockey, Rush, eh.

Back to topic, this poem was written in response to The Indian to His Love, written by Yeats and published in 1889 in his collection Crossways.  I do feel like this rich poem could attract a second response reflecting on the journey the lovers take through time until their ultimate reunion at the end of the poem, however, this response draws a different perspective of the timelessness of their love as they escape modern life to a quiet place sacred to them, a stillness pulled forward from an ancient time that binds their love to a previous eternity already lived but unwritten until now.

The companion haiku set for this day can be found here: https://sailorpoet.com/2017/03/22/haikus-013-020-tian-tan-haikus/}

The Length of a Moment, Contemplated

On this island far from the noise today
We walk, weaving our hands along the way
Wondering about the length of this moment
And from where it came, like time folded
Upon itself, connecting an ancient dot
To the impressionist portrait drawn
From our transit across the river
To this island far from the noise today.

We stop to set with the sun, hoping the moment
Lingers long enough for me to capture
A star to give you light for your travels
Through the darkness of time as it folds
To return this dot to its ancient time
Where it will grow through each nameless age
To arrive inside this impressionist portrait
Of life on this island far from the noise today.

In response to:

The Indian to His Love

by: William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

THE island dreams under the dawn
And great boughs drop tranquillity;
The peahens dance on a smooth lawn,
A parrot sways upon a tree,
Raging at his own image in the enamelled sea.

Here we will moor our lonely ship
And wander ever with woven hands,
Murmuring softly lip to lip,
Along the grass, along the sands,
Murmuring how far away are the unquiet lands:

How we alone of mortals are
Hid under quiet boughs apart,
While our love grows an Indian star,
A meteor of the burning heart,
One with the tide that gleams, the wings that gleam and dart,

The heavy boughs, the burnished dove
That moans and sighs a hundred days:
How when we die our shades will rove,
When eve has hushed the feathered ways,
With vapoury footsole by the water’s drowsy blaze.

25 thoughts on “The Length of a Moment, Contemplated (A Yeat’s Response)

  1. Singledust says:

    There’s a lot of history in Malaysia with communist uprising around that era too even though colonial rule tried to quash their activities since the early 1950’s, Fraser’s Hill in Pahang was the site of the murder of then Britsih resident Sir Henry Gurney by communist guerillas in mid 1950’s I recall. But the times between 1968-1979 was a very tense time in Malaysia, I was born during a state of emergency at the start of the later years uprising and the stories I heard about how difficult it was at that time I should probably write them down now that you have triggered the memory.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. S Francis says:

    He is less Czech now than French. At some point in the last ten to twenty years he left his native land under some controversy that I would have to look up; but I believe it is presumed that he was supportive of the Communist efforts to oppress dissent at some point in his life. I do not know enough details to adequately reflect on it here, but it is worth a look. Nonetheless, he has since left and now lives in France and writes in French.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Singledust says:

    people do unexpected things out the kindness of their hearts. an eavesdropping traveler picks up on vibes and offers help – so glad someone came to your rescue. I have been privy to such Canadian kindness – the opposite though – GO train ticket machines only accepted travel or local cards at one station – a sweet girl paid my fare. We owe the universe much for kindness undeserved. Your response to Yeats is as gentle as his words and flowed like an extension to his. Enjoying your Hong Kong inspirations.

    Liked by 1 person

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