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January 14, 2009


Men never loved women without her beauty.

That is not the moral of the poem. It's that we love each other for those things we find attractive in other people. Sometimes it's yellow hair, sometimes a sense of humor, but without it love is not possible. Thus the idea that you can be unlovable and still be loved is impossible. It is futile to want such a thing-- to make oneself ugly or radically different and expect the feelings of love to remain unchanged.

Either that, or Yeats believed no man every loved a brunette.

I think it is that men will never unconditionally love a woman (save a daughter) - the physical attractiveness, attraction, SEX, always is a factor.

I've seen lost very homely women who are happily married. The only answer is it must be love.

This is not American. Yeats was Irish, always and forever.

True. Our site is devoted not narrowly to American poetry but to great poetry wherever it comes from, and Yeats was "the king of the cats." -- DL

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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