W B Yeats To a Squirrel at Kyle-Na-No

W B Yeats To a Squirrel at Kyle Na No

To a Squirrel at Kyle-Na-No

from The Wild Swans at Coole by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

Come play with me;

Why should you run

Through the shaking tree

As though I’d a gun

To strike you dead?

When all I would do

Is to scratch your head

And let you go.

This poem by the Nobel Laureate Irish poet W. B. Yeats was first published in 1917. Kyle-na-no was one of the woods at Coole in Ireland. It was first spelt as Kyle-na-ngo but became Kyle-na-no in The Collected Poems by W B Yeats edition.

In his Reveries over Childhood and Youth, Yeats wrote, “I fished for pike at Castle Dragan and shot at birds with a muzzle-loading pistol until somebody shot a rabbit and I heard it squeal. From that on I would kill nothing but the dumb fish.”  Yeats wrote another poem in 1916 called ‘An Appointment’ about ‘the proud, wayward squirrel.’

7 thoughts on “W B Yeats To a Squirrel at Kyle-Na-No”

  1. I love the idea of a series of wildlife poems linked to your photos and what a great addition to #AnimalTales – did you ever see the poems I wrote on The Kingfisher and The Buzzard? They are not up to Yate’s standard but I enjoyed penning them.

  2. What a great poem. I love watching the squirrel collecting walnuts and burying them on the green.

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