Today in my Irish studies class, we discussed a very prominent Irish poet, W.B. Yeats. His famous poem, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” was partially influenced by Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden.” The poem, written in 1888 is about a peaceful lake where Yeats imagines building a cabin to live in and enjoy the authenticity of rural Ireland.
Yeats lived in London which was very modernized in this time period. His poem recognizes the contrast of the different places (the lake and the city) when he talks about roadways and pavements that he stand upon, rather than the “bee-loud glade” he wishes he were at.
It’s interesting to see other writers inspired by the work of Thoreau, especially because we spent a long time reading and discussing the passages of “Walden.” I think it’s cool to see how the idea of returning to nature inspired this beautiful poem and continues to inspire me to write as well.