Yeats Merge

This morning I was writing and suddenly got the urge to read poetry. I was stuck, my cat Hideaway being asleep on my lap, so I had to call the Hubster to come into my writing room.

"Hubster," I said. "Will you hand me that big black book over there ... my Norton Anthology of Poetry?"

He knew exactly which one it was. It's the one I lug with me whenever we go on a road trip of any kind. I've even taken it backpacking. Even though it weighs more than my sleeping bag.

So he handed it to me and I opened to a random page to find Yeats's "Among School Children." So I read it and wrote, then read it again and wrote.

Here's the final stanza of the poem:

Labour is blossoming or dancing where
The body is not bruised to pleasure soul.
Nor beauty born out of its own despair,
Nor blear-eyed wisdom out of midnight oil.
O chestnut-tree, great-rooted blossomer,
Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?

I love that final line, "How can we know the dancer from the dance?" So I wrote it down a few times and thought about it and read some more.

Fast-forward a couple of hours. I had finished my morning writing, taken a shower, and got dressed for the big Sunday jaunt to Wal-Mart. (We live large here in rural western North Carolina.) But for some reason, I started thinking, "Wouldn't it be awful if Hubster died?" And I got all mushy and teary-eyed and flew downstairs to the man-cave to give him a big ole hug and a kiss. In mid-hug, I heard the TV sports commentator guy talking (for Hubster was, of course, watching ESPN or something like that). And the guy on TV was talking about OJ Simpson's glory days, saying something like:

"Blah blah blah OJ Simpson blah blah and as Yeats said, 'How can we know the dancer from the dance?' blah blah blah ..."

How weird is that? I randomly opened to the Yeats poem this morning, and that particular line jumped out at me and I wrote it down. Then I randomly went to the man-cave for about 10 seconds and heard the sports announcer guy say that same line.

I call that merging, when identical ideas and stuff seem to come flying at you from totally different sources like that. Weird.


"Man Cave" was a term invented by the HGTV Network. Find out the real deal at

Be A Man.

- The Founding Father

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