April 22, 2009

Concupiscence Confounds Concentration

Filed under: culture,politics — Kim @ 2:40 pm

A recent Torygraph story with the title “English should be taught in single-sex classes because girls hold boys back” made me remember a Yeats skit I wrote years -and years- ago when I was an undergrad English Literature student. The Yeats original first…


HOW can I, that girl standing there,
My attention fix
On Roman or on Russian
Or on Spanish politics?
Yet here’s a travelled man that knows
What he talks about,
And there’s a politician
That has read and thought,
And maybe what they say is true
Of war and war’s alarms,
But O that I were young again
And held her in my arms!

which inspired me to write


How can I, that girl sitting there,
My attention fix
On sonnets or on Ireland
Or on Yeats’ poetic gift?
Yet here’s my favourite lecturer
Who knows well what he talks about
And there’s a fellow student
Who is buried deep in thought.
And maybe what he says is true
Of the gyres and Ireland’s charms
But Oh that we were in my room
And she was in my arms!


  1. that should, of course, be “and she were in my arms.”

    Oh Western wind, how do you blow,
    the smal rain down doth rain.
    Christ! that my love were in my arms
    and I in my bed again.

    Comment by brother samuel — April 24, 2009 @ 6:08 pm

  2. My dear brother Samuel

    “of course” my arse. The grammar bends with the onrush of the libido and prissy “were” is replaced by the vulgar and ever so slightly Lawrentian “was”. Look in any decent modern grammar to see that both “was” and “were” are options for the conditional but that the vernacular is better rendered by “was”. The id is being made to speak the vernacular and vulgar in my skit. So there, innit?

    BTW. I prefer this version…

    O Western wind, when wilt thou blow
    That the small rain down can rain?
    Christ, that my love were in my arms
    And I in my bed again

    Comment by Kim — April 28, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.