Today is the first day of summer. For me, the best description of the sounds of summer comes in a line of poetry by William Butler Yeats. In the first stanza of his poem “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”, Yeats describes his longing for the isolation of Irish isle:
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
I love the imagery of a “bee-loud glade”, a phrase that captures the drowsy hum of a warm summer afternoon.
I spoke that phrase several times aloud this morning to myself as I remembered today the official start of summer.
“A bee-loud glade,” I repeated to myself as mantra to celebrate the solstice.
Imagine my surprise, then, as I drove to work this morning to hear a story about poetry on National Public Radio (NPR) titled How Rhythm Carries A Poem, From Head To Heart .
In order to illustrate how “the words and the rhythm are inseparable — the rhythm of the poem helps connect the reader to the meaning of the words,” there was an audiotape of Yeats reading “The Lake Isle of Innisfree.” The program played the recording long enough for me to hear Yeats read, “And live alone in the bee-loud glade.”
A great example of poetic serendipity to start the summer!