* You are viewing the archive for July, 2014

Yeatsian echoes in Derek Mahon’s “The Lady from the Sea”

Though this poem is subtitled “from the Norwegian of Henrik Ibsen, 1828 – 1906” it seems to me that its dialogue with Yeats is at least as interesting. The line “I stare astonished at the harbour lights” echoes the ending of Yeats’ “Her Triumph” loudly and clearly:

And now we stare astonished at the sea,
And a miraculous strange bird shrieks at us.

In its rhythm and slightly mannered phrasing the line “we might have saved ourselves great misery” sounds exactly like Yeats, and that lends the word “misery” resonances from its context in “No Second Troy” (“Why should I blame … Continue Reading