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Mr Yeats On The Radio

Rating: 4.8

Voices of our sullen North
waylay the splendid lyrics
he breathed on sibilant airwaves.

From him they arose and were gone,
while my harsh Ulster vowels
threaten the placid harmonies
with discordant rendering.

When the quiet fills my head, those

English words from his Irish heart
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James Mills 14 May 2005

Thanks Michael, I heard the great man on a hissing recording which must have been made in the thirties (he died in 1939 I think) . His voice was actorly and way over the top - but the words were sublime. Everyone in this part of the world thinks they can do a creditable 'Big Ian' - just open the throat and declaim the word 'No' as loudly and clearly as possible. Jimmy

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Michael Shepherd 14 May 2005

This was a nice surprise. One of my favourite private pleasures was to read Shakespeare's sonnets in imitation of Yeats' voice, and hear music in them I'd never heard before, and three vowels where one was written... And my party pooper is to declaim 'What is your substance? ...' in Ian Paisley's most accusatory and scornful voice...

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