Tag Archives: Yeats

No Country

The Guggenheim exhibition, curated by June Yap, is going to be showing in CCA from 10 May to 20 July. The exhibition “proposes a reevaluation of the region and its countries based on its cultural relationships, influences, affinities, and negotiations“. Exciting!

Check out the calendar of events here.

The exhibition’s title is apparently drawn from the opening line of the W. B. Yeats poem “Sailing to Byzantium” (1928) that is referenced in the title of Cormac McCarthy’s novel No Country for Old Men (2005).

Here’s the poem:

Sailing To Byzantium

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees
 Those dying generations  at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unaging intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.