If you drive up the Horseshoe Pass just outside Llangollen in North Wales and know where to turn off you will find the Blue Pool. These days it is also known as the Blue Lagoon and it is a popular swimming spot, but for experienced swimmers only! It is 40 feet deep and can be icy even in warm weather. When I knew it first, I was a child and there was none of that! Cars were rare and it was considered remote and dangerous! Therefore for me it was mysterious. We would travel from my home in the Black Country to the bliss of the open spaces of North Wales! If I was lucky early on Sunday morning, before church, we would drive up to see the Blue Pool. Sometimes it was misty, making it doubly dangerous and slightly sinister! No one swam in it then but I loved it! Nowhere in the world, and I’ve travelled a bit, have I seen water quite so blue as it is in memory! You can talk to me about copper sulphate levels and tell me the history of the slate mining that made it! But for me its seems primeval, beautiful and as old as time!
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the mourning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
Innisfree is a small island at the eastern end of Lough Gill in County Sligo, Ireland. Yeats spent part of nearly every year in Sligo while growing up. He often walked out from Sligo town to Lough Gill. First published in the collection The Rose in 1893, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” is an example of Yeat’s earlier lyric poems. The rhythm of the poem perfectly reflects the lapping of the water on the lake shore. But the poem was written in London at a time when Ireland was in economic and political turmoil, and Yeats and his family were struggling financially. It is not surprising that the sound of a water fountain in a shop window on a bustling London street would take him back to the lapping water of Lough Gill and a more gentle life.
A Brief Understanding of Sunflowers.
There are pieces of artwork drifting through galleries around the world that have become nearly synonymous with the artists name and techniques. The various paintings of Sunflowers and Vincent van Gogh are a perfect example of this. Not only can one make a mental connection between the artists name and painting but also between the artist and their influence on the development of art through these paintings. Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflower paintings have been duplicated many times by various artists (although never reaching the vivacity and intensity of Van Gogh’s) and displayed everywhere; from households to art expos.
The ‘Sunflowers’ is one of the most popular paintings and most often reproduced on cards, posters, mugs, tea-towels and stationery. It was also the picture that Van Gogh was most proud of.
It was painted during a rare period of excited optimism, while Van Gogh awaited the arrival of his hero, the avant-garde painter Paul Gauguin. The lonely and passionate Vincent had moved to Arles, in the South of France, where he dreamed of setting up a community of artists with Gauguin as its mentor. The ‘Sunflowers’ was intended to impress Gauguin, and as a gesture of friendship. The alliance was to end in disaster.