“Among School Children” is a poem by W.B. Yeats that was the inspiration for this year’s #YeatsDay celebrations at the Hamilton Gallery in Sligo recently.
Overall, this poem is about essential change, the passage of time and the search for harmony and peace. We see the poet looking back over his life and perhaps, feeling increasingly out of touch with the modern world.
Hmmm, would you blame him.
Now, my contribution to the exhibition was the drawing below, that old scarecrow from some years back, because of the line in the poem about the “comfortable kind of old scarecrow” but more recently, I was thinking that maybe, one of the collages above might’ve been more appropriate… because they’re made up of disparate ideas and fragments, all coming together to try to find a new unity or harmony.
Anyway… the catalogue essay by the poet Vona Groarke describes the exhibition so eloquently that I just had to quote from it here below:
The exhibition’s one hundred and fifteen pieces combine to show the poem enacted differently and ingeniously, using a visual language to think through its questions and preoccupations by other means.
In its translation of word to image, of phrase to line, of line to colour, this exhibition expands and amplifies our understanding of “Among School Children”. Each one striking, the effect of the full exhibition is to remind us how powerful the Yeats poem is, and how important a place it occupies in the Irish imagination. It is a living thing, still (after almost one hundred years) putting to us its beautiful and resonant questions that we still, in our various ways, puzzle to answer.
By the way, any of you poets out there in bloggyland, please feel free to comment and, even if you’re not a poet, your comments are always welcome!