Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.
In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.
William Butler Yeats
I love this Yeats poem so much because a "salley" happens to be a willow tree. Salley is an anglicisation of the Irish "saileach", meaning willow, i.e., a tree of the genus Salix. Willows are known as "salleys" or "salley trees" in parts of Ireland. This poem was subsequently set to music by Herbert Hughes to the air "The Maids of the Mourne Shore" in 1909.
'Tis my Scots-Irish I'm a-feelin', stretchin' its bonny legs and doin' a fancy jig. Your DNA doesn't have to be tingling to enjoy this song. Everybody is Irish this week. And please don't forget to send a big chunk of your good Irish energies and prayers to our dear friends in Japan.
photo borrowed from Google images