Today is the 150th anniversary of the poet William Butler Yates, the one who wrote the poem that gave this mountain cabin (and 4 other neighboring cabins) its name–Innisfree. Thank you, Mr. Yates. 

Lake Isle of Innisfree

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.

And I shall have some peace there,
For peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning
To where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer,
And noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings

I will arise and go now,
For always night and day
I hear lake water lapping
With low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway
Or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

– W.B. Yeats

Listen to a recording of Yates reading this poem.

14 thoughts on “Innisfree”

  1. nice… I was not introduced to poetry as a child nor did we have a mountain retreat… But my dad’s uncle was a sheepherder in southcentral Wyoming near Baggs… and when I was three we visited them and another couple who lived near steam boat springs CO and I have a very vivid memory of the men trout fishing in the mountains, and the women cooking hot dogs in a hot springs and me walking back and forth between these two groups and loving the sounds of the river/creek. I’ve longed to find that place again. Part of me believes that I would know it if I saw it… But all of those parties are long dead now. I think now we may have been the snowy range. I drove through the snowy range several years ago and felt very at home there. Want to go back and drive south to steamboat springs and see if I can find it.

      1. My sister has the family pictures so I can’t show a picture. But it was probably August 1950. It was a long car trip with lots of memories. I was bright eyed and loving it. At least as I remember. I remember seeing Mt. Rushmore for the first time. Yellowstone and probably on the way home Frontier days in Cheyenne. Dad’s mother died when he was 4. This uncle was one of her brothers. Her mother died when she was 5 and her father when she was 10. Martin was 12.

        We may well have seen others of Dad’s relatives on this trip but I do not remember visiting them, as his brother, Milton, settled in Cheyenne after the war. I’m almost positive we would have seen him and his wife. At that time he was working as a mechanic in a car shop (like his father) but he soon became a ranch hand and worked from ranch to ranch ver southeastern WY. As the family genealogist I spent quite a lot of time tracing his movements and finally found where he and his wife are buried. A sister of his mother was in the Denver area.

        Uncle Martin married when he was 20 and they moved to Baggs, WY where he began working as a sheepherder and eventually bought a small ranch. He would run the sheep up into the mountains in the summer and follow them with his sheep wagon. Which is where we saw him on this trip. I drove through Baggs the fall I drove through the snowy range and bumped into some people that remembered him. He and his wife moved back to north Missouri about the time my folks separated and we visited them several times. He died when I was in college. Though by then I probably had not seen him for almost 10 years.

        The other family were a couple that my mother knew growing up in a small town in north MO (population less than 100). As young adults a few years older than my mother, Maude & Leo had close ties to my mother. Neither had lots of money but managed to marry. My mother seemed to look to them for some of the affection, understanding and support she didn’t get from her family. And at some point they left north Missouri for CO where they became school teachers. I knew them through the Christmas letters they always sent. they loved the mountains and were always writing about camping in the mountains and snows coming in or drinks freezing in their tents… in early summer or late summer which always attracted my attention. The may have even worked somewhere in the mountains in the summer when they weren’t teaching.

        I’m sure many of my memories of this trip were reinforced by family pictures. Unfortunately my family did not share stories so I don’t have many auditory memories. But dad did take pictures and these stayed with the family when he left. This was also a happier time in my family’s life. For the third time, my father had started a business of his own. This time thanks to my mother’s father who apparently loaned them the money. The business would have been about 2 years old at that point so still promising. And I think they were mostly happy traveling and they were both social people and so this connecting with family was something that they mostly liked. I seem to think my father did this more than my mother.

      2. Lovely memories and stories. They are so important, I think. Thank you for sharing them. My maternal grandfather was a storyteller. So I can hear him in my mind as I remember my history. We also have a few recordings of him telling some of the family stories. One of the things I’m excited about with the new book I have in the pipeline — I’m retelling a bit of his story. His mom was Irish and thus my celtic heritage.

      3. Beth on my blog posted yesterday is a story of one of my Irish relatives… who may also have been a storyteller. He was at least a preacher… an uncle in the line of Martin and Lucy above.

      4. Beth, I am enjoying so much your blog…most recent on your 2015 vacation images! I also ran into the pic of your family cabin Innisfree and Yates’ poem….it does not take much to make the transfer of images and experiences of ‘thin places’ when we are at our Mt. Cabin the “Humble Heart Retreat”, at Lake Junaluska.
        Thanks for your witness through the pics. Roger

      5. Thank you, Roger. I think there is such a connection between the Rockies and the Smokeys and all those mountain places. The “thin places” — in mountains, near water, at the beach where the waves relentlessly roar. I’m glad to know you have a mt. cabin at Lake J. I love that place and will be there in July with The Upper Room’s SOULfeast conference. Many blessing and thanks for taking the time to comment. Beth

  2. Thanks for this post, and for “Coming Full Circle”, too. In the 1970’s, my family trekked from KC to the Y Camp every August, staying in the Y’s cabins or at the Dean Ranch on Cliff Drive. Teenage memories of those friends and adventures are easily stirred when I read your work. Thank you, Beth!

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