Dream, dream, for this is also sooth

After a deeply unpleasant week (fine now though, thankfully) I find myself obsessing over The Song of the Happy Shepherd By Yeats. Particularly the final lines about the necessity of dreaming in the face of all which has been lost. Read by Grian Chatten of Fontaines D.C. whose voice I find hypnotic:

I must be gone: there is a grave
Where daffodil and lily wave,
And I would please the hapless faun,
Buried under the sleepy ground,
With mirthful songs before the dawn.
His shouting days with mirth were crowned;
And still I dream he treads the lawn,
Walking ghostly in the dew,
Pierced by my glad singing through,
My songs of old earth's dreamy youth:
But ah! she dreams not now; dream thou!
For fair are poppies on the brow:
Dream, dream, for this is also sooth.

I was led down this rabbit hole by his collaboration with Kae Tempest on their new album. His contribution in the second half of the song suggests the potential for Yeatsian dreaming to be exhausted in the banality of mutual existence. But simultaneously the hope that remains in truly seeing and being seen. The possibility for renewal which comes with “a friend that doesn’t pretend”. Our dreams can decay in the slipstream of other people but these same people raise the possibility of dreaming together which can change everything.

Tapped out a few laughs on the summer's grass
And in all the sky's many merry blues
I read one thousand words
Of pretty good news
And now heliotropes around your light gather
And they chatter and chatter and they chatter
Make insipid remarks about things that matter
'Till they don't anymore
'Till they don't weigh a crumb
Until the caring in you is surely done
Until dead is every one of us floating about
Between good bookie odds and two for one on stout
So live it all out, in lust of a stage
Where you were busy trying to trap the heart on the page
Having scenes arranged into your bones
And happily arranging yourself to be alone
Believing happiness to be a train that just doesn't stop for you
A pain but a friend that doesn't pretend

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