THE Danaan children laugh, in cradles of wrought gold,
And clap their hands together, and half close their eyes,
For they will ride the North when the ger-eagle flies,
With heavy whitening wings, and a heart fallen cold:
I kiss my wailing child and press it to my breast,
And hear the narrow graves calling my child and me.
Desolate winds that cry over the wandering sea;
Desolate winds that hover in the flaming West;
Desolate winds that beat the doors of Heaven, and beat
The doors of Hell and blow there many a whimpering ghost;
O heart the winds have shaken, the unappeasable host
Is comelier than candles at Mother Mary's feet. -Yeats
This poem made sense for me, once I realized that the Danaan children are not just the baby fairies but the entire fairy race: they are the force of nature, childlike in its playfulness, innocence and terrifying power. They bear neither love nor malice; they cannot be reasoned with or appealed to. They eagerly anticipate riding the coldest winds from the north, which even the eagle can scarcely bear. The speaker of the poem holds the child close, hearing that wild wind blowing: a deadly wind, reminding us of mortal frailty; a wind that will sweep the soul from out the body of those caught out in it. But that wind shakes his (her) heart with more than fear: the wildness of it captures the heart with love and wonder. Candles at Mary’s feet: a perfect image of divine peace and calm and comfort. But the poet’s heart is set, not on that peace, but on the wild voice of the whirlwind.
And if anyone has not felt the joy and longing of the winds that shudder the house, that sweep long white drifts across the glassy road, that pierce the heart with beauty and terror at the same time -- I think that person must have already moved to warmer latitudes.😀 - 1 hour ago