Yeats remarked of his early poems that they were 'the heart's cry against necessity' - he was much preoccupied by his long unrequited love for Maude Gonne, while also immersing his imagination in the lore and mythology of Ireland. The Aengus of this poem is a Celtic god, for Yeats the god of youth, beauty and poetry, though really perhaps no more than a vehicle for the poet's own longing.
The Song of Wandering Aengus
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.
Recording commissioned by the Poetry Archive, shared here with kind permission of our reader.