|Yeats, Poems, 1899|
Design by Althea Gyles
The first thing he did was to shred a poem by a freshman into something else entirely: burning fire slaw, perhaps, or poisonous confetti. She was a pleasant young woman, and she had written a poem about a squirrel. The subject met disapproval. No doubt the poem needed shredding, and perhaps there are instances when a fine, fierce shredding can be salutary. I fear this one was not. It seemed a rather loveless incident. I couldn't help imagining or discerning (which?) that there was a desire to obliterate the young woman--a girl still, she seems, a child in memory. I can dimly conjure her face, and some of the grad students smirking and exchanging glances in what must have been satisfaction. I doubt that such pleasure is good for human beings of either sex. Their poems were, in fact, better--they were young men who, after all, were four to ten years older than she was--and received a modicum of praise.
I hope so.
Kyle-na-gno is one of the seven woods of Coole... Yeats names them in the dedication to Lady Gregory in The Shadowy Waters:
Shan-walla, where a willow-bordered pondWe move from shade to sun, from Kyle-dortha to Kyle-na-gno. There's a poet watching, but no chance of a workshop. Kyle-na-gno means "the nut wood" or "the hazel wood." No wonder so many squirrels are happy there in a flourishing green, hid from death and change.
Gathers the wild duck from the winter dawn;
Shady Kyle-dortha; sunnier Kyle-na-gno,
Where many hundred squirrels are as happy
As though they had been hidden by green boughs,
Where old age cannot find them; Pairc-na-lea,
Where hazel and ash and privet blind the paths;
Dim Pairc-na-carraig, where the wild bees fling
Their sudden fragrances on the green air;
Dim Pairc-na-tarav, where enchanted eyes
Have seen immortal, mild, proud shadows walk;
Dim Inchy wood, that hides badger and fox
And marten-cat, and borders that old wood
Wise Biddy Early called the wicked wood:
Seven odours, seven murmurs, seven woods.