I went out to the hazel wood, Because a fire was in my head, And cut and peeled a hazel wand, And hooked a berry to a thread; And when white moths were on the wing, And moth-like stars were flickering out, I dropped the berry in a stream And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor I went to blow the fire aflame, But something rustled on the floor, And some one 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.
Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun.
— William Butler Yeats
Yeats uses classic Greek mythology and ancient celtic faerie symbolism to illustrate a man’s desire to always be searching First, he finds the hazel wood, then
he finds the switch and berries to make a fishing rod and bait with which to catch a fish. When the fish is caught, it turns into something more spiritual to
him as he is preparing the fire on which to cook it, the desire for the feminine influence. The reference to the apples may be a symbol of eternity, day after
day (sun after sun) and night after night (moon after moon). But notice, he never acquires the faerie woman. Instead, he is on a quest to find her. That
journey is what keeps man happy — a purpose.The faerie is a symbol of purpose to man. Purpose keeps him going.
The imagery is magically powerful. an expression of the longing, seeking, questing that characterizes many of our lives. we seek and need: the fruit of both
realms–the direct and the reflected, the masculine and the feminine, the tangible and the spirit.In our youth, we live in a world of discovery, magic and love.
In our later years, we long to return to that irretrievable time of magic again.His poem is about the human condition. We are constantly in pursuit of the
unknown — we desire to explain the unexplainable and understand the incomprehensible. If you find this poem moves you and you don’t understand why, it
is because this poem speaks to our deepest desire to know what we cannot know.