‘Under Ben Bulben’
Benbulben (also called Ben Bulben) is a large rock formation in County Sligo, Ireland.
It is a table mountain, part of the Dartry Mountains, in a beautiful area sometimes called 'Yeats Country’.
W.B Yeats, Ireland’s most famous poet is buried in a small graveyard at the foot of the mountain.
'Cast a cold eye
On life, on death
Horseman, pass by!’

Lintas Selatan Jabar – Mengejar Matahari

Lintas Selatan Jabar – Mengejar Matahari

Padi menguning, Petani menuai rejekinya. Area sawah di daerah Cimerak, Pangandaran.

Pukul 15.00, posisi Saya dan Kang Buyung masih di daerah Parigi, Pangandaran, tepatnya di dekat Pantai Batu Hiu. Jika menyesuaikan dengan agenda, Kami berdua mesti menyambangi Pantai Madasari dan Pantai Karang Tawulan saat perjalanan ke arah barat. Setelah kenyang makan siang, perjalanan pun kami teruskan.


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The Tower

William Butler Yeats

What shall I do with this absurdity –
O heart, O troubled heart – this caricature,
Decrepit age that has been tied to me
As to a dog’s tail?
Never had I more
Excited, passionate, fantastical
Imagination, nor an ear and eye
That more expected the impossible –
No, not in boyhood when with rod and fly,
Or the humbler worm, I climbed Ben Bulben’s back
And had the livelong summer day to spend.
It seems that I must bid the Muse go pack,
Choose Plato and Plotinus for a friend
Until imagination, ear and eye,
Can be content with argument and deal
In abstract things; or be derided by
A sort of battered kettle at the heel.

I pace upon the battlements and stare
On the foundations of a house, or where
Tree, like a sooty finger, starts from the earth;
And send imagination forth
Under the day’s declining beam, and call
Images and memories
From ruin or from ancient trees,
For I would ask a question of them all.

Beyond that ridge lived Mrs. French, and once
When every silver candlestick or sconce
Lit up the dark mahogany and the wine.
A serving-man, that could divine
That most respected lady’s every wish,
Ran and with the garden shears
Clipped an insolent farmer’s ears
And brought them in a little covered dish.

Some few remembered still when I was young
A peasant girl commended by a Song,
Who’d lived somewhere upon that rocky place,
And praised the colour of her face,
And had the greater joy in praising her,
Remembering that, if walked she there,
Farmers jostled at the fair
So great a glory did the song confer.

And certain men, being maddened by those rhymes,
Or else by toasting her a score of times,
Rose from the table and declared it right
To test their fancy by their sight;
But they mistook the brightness of the moon
For the prosaic light of day –
Music had driven their wits astray –
And one was drowned in the great bog of Cloone.

Strange, but the man who made the song was blind;
Yet, now I have considered it, I find
That nothing strange; the tragedy began
With Homer that was a blind man,
And Helen has all living hearts betrayed.
O may the moon and sunlight seem
One inextricable beam,
For if I triumph I must make men mad.

And I myself created Hanrahan
And drove him drunk or sober through the dawn
From somewhere in the neighbouring cottages.
Caught by an old man’s juggleries
He stumbled, tumbled, fumbled to and fro
And had but broken knees for hire
And horrible splendour of desire;
I thought it all out twenty years ago:

Good fellows shuffled cards in an old bawn;
And when that ancient ruffian’s turn was on
He so bewitched the cards under his thumb
That all but the one card became
A pack of hounds and not a pack of cards,
And that he changed into a hare.
Hanrahan rose in frenzy there
And followed up those baying creatures towards –

O towards I have forgotten what – enough!
I must recall a man that neither love
Nor music nor an enemy’s clipped ear
Could, he was so harried, cheer;
A figure that has grown so fabulous
There’s not a neighbour left to say
When he finished his dog’s day:
An ancient bankrupt master of this house.

Before that ruin came, for centuries,
Rough men-at-arms, cross-gartered to the knees
Or shod in iron, climbed the narrow stairs,
And certain men-at-arms there were
Whose images, in the Great Memory stored,
Come with loud cry and panting breast
To break upon a sleeper’s rest
While their great wooden dice beat on the board.

As I would question all, come all who can;
Come old, necessitous. half-mounted man;
And bring beauty’s blind rambling celebrant;
The red man the juggler sent
Through God-forsaken meadows; Mrs. French,
Gifted with so fine an ear;
The man drowned in a bog’s mire,
When mocking Muses chose the country wench.

Did all old men and women, rich and poor,
Who trod upon these rocks or passed this door,
Whether in public or in secret rage
As I do now against old age?
But I have found an answer in those eyes
That are impatient to be gone;
Go therefore; but leave Hanrahan,
For I need all his mighty memories.

Old lecher with a love on every wind,
Bring up out of that deep considering mind
All that you have discovered in the grave,
For it is certain that you have
Reckoned up every unforeknown, unseeing
plunge, lured by a softening eye,
Or by a touch or a sigh,
Into the labyrinth of another’s being;

Does the imagination dwell the most
Upon a woman won or woman lost.?
If on the lost, admit you turned aside
From a great labyrinth out of pride,
Cowardice, some silly over-subtle thought
Or anything called conscience once;
And that if memory recur, the sun’s
Under eclipse and the day blotted out.

It is time that I wrote my will;
I choose upstanding men
That climb the streams until
The fountain leap, and at dawn
Drop their cast at the side
Of dripping stone; I declare
They shall inherit my pride,
The pride of people that were
Bound neither to Cause nor to State.
Neither to slaves that were spat on,
Nor to the tyrants that spat,
The people of Burke and of Grattan
That gave, though free to refuse –
pride, like that of the morn,
When the headlong light is loose,
Or that of the fabulous horn,
Or that of the sudden shower
When all streams are dry,
Or that of the hour
When the swan must fix his eye
Upon a fading gleam,
Float out upon a long
Last reach of glittering stream
And there sing his last song.
And I declare my faith:
I mock Plotinus’ thought
And cry in Plato’s teeth,
Death and life were not
Till man made up the whole,
Made lock, stock and barrel
Out of his bitter soul,
Aye, sun and moon and star, all,
And further add to that
That, being dead, we rise,
Dream and so create
Translunar paradise.

I have prepared my peace
With learned Italian things
And the proud stones of Greece,
Poet’s imaginings
And memories of love,
Memories of the words of women,
All those things whereof
Man makes a superhuman,
Mirror-resembling dream.

As at the loophole there
The daws chatter and scream,
And drop twigs layer upon layer.
When they have mounted up,
The mother bird will rest
On their hollow top,
And so warm her wild nest.

I leave both faith and pride
To young upstanding men
Climbing the mountain-side,
That under bursting dawn
They may drop a fly;
Being of that metal made
Till it was broken by
This sedentary trade.

Now shall I make my soul,
Compelling it to study
In a learned school
Till the wreck of body,
Slow decay of blood,
Testy delirium
Or dull decrepitude,
Or what worse evil come –
The death of friends, or death
Of every brilliant eye
That made a catch in the breath – .
Seem but the clouds of the sky
When the horizon fades;
Or a bird’s sleepy cry
Among the deepening shades.



Swear by what the Sages spoke
Round the Mareotic Lake
That the Witch of Atlas knew,  
Spoke and set the cocks a-crow.

Swear by those horsemen, by those women,  
Complexion and form prove superhuman,  
That pale, long visaged company
That airs an immortality
Completeness of their passions won;  
Now they ride the wintry dawn
Where Ben Bulben sets the scene.

Here’s the gist of what they mean.  


Many times man lives and dies  
Between his two eternities,  
That of race and that of soul,  
And ancient Ireland knew it all.  
Whether man dies in his bed  
Or the rifle knocks him dead,
A brief parting from those dear  
Is the worst man has to fear.  
Though grave-diggers’ toil is long,  
Sharp their spades, their muscle strong,  
They but thrust their buried men  
Back in the human mind again.


You that Mitchel’s prayer have heard  
`Send war in our time, O Lord!’  
Know that when all words are said  
And a man is fighting mad,  
Something drops from eyes long blind  
He completes his partial mind,  
For an instant stands at ease,  
Laughs aloud, his heart at peace,  
Even the wisest man grows tense  
With some sort of violence  
Before he can accomplish fate  
Know his work or choose his mate.


Poet and sculptor do the work  
Nor let the modish painter shirk  
What his great forefathers did,  
Bring the soul of man to God,  
Make him fill the cradles right.

Measurement began our might:  
Forms a stark Egyptian thought,  
Forms that gentler Phidias wrought.

Michael Angelo left a proof  
On the Sistine Chapel roof,  
Where but half-awakened Adam  
Can disturb globe-trotting Madam  
Till her bowels are in heat,  
Proof that there’s a purpose set  
Before the secret working mind:  
Profane perfection of mankind.

Quattrocento put in paint,
On backgrounds for a God or Saint,  
Gardens where a soul’s at ease;  
Where everything that meets the eye
Flowers and grass and cloudless sky  
Resemble forms that are, or seem  
When sleepers wake and yet still dream,  
And when it’s vanished still declare,  
With only bed and bedstead there,  
That Heavens had opened.

                                       Gyres run on;
When that greater dream had gone  
Calvert and Wilson, Blake and Claude  
Prepared a rest for the people of God,  
Palmer’s phrase, but after that
Confusion fell upon our thought.


Irish poets learn your trade  
Sing whatever is well made,  
Scorn the sort now growing up  
All out of shape from toe to top,
Their unremembering hearts and heads  
Base-born products of base beds.  
Sing the peasantry, and then  
Hard-riding country gentlemen,  
The holiness of monks, and after  
Porter-drinkers’ randy laughter;  
Sing the lords and ladies gay  
That were beaten into the clay  
Through seven heroic centuries;  
Cast your mind on other days  
That we in coming days may be  
Still the indomitable Irishry.


Under bare Ben Bulben’s head
In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid,  
An ancestor was rector there
Long years ago; a church stands near,
By the road an ancient Cross.
No marble, no conventional phrase,  
On limestone quarried near the spot  
By his command these words are cut:

              Cast a cold eye  
              On life, on death.  
              Horseman, pass by!

William Butler Yeats

Breithlá Sona! Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the poet’s birth!

Today, W.B. Yeats turns 150. And I’m thinking about all the ridiculous things I’ve done because of him. Flew to Ireland. Got ferociously drunk in an Australian pub in Sligo. Climbed to the top of Ben Bulben, just because it was mentioned in a poem one time. Drove hours to Coole Park, where our bus drove in reverse for almost a mile because of the flooding. Recited poetry at a thousand year-old monastery.

So thanks for everything Yeatsie babe.