prayer beads and indigo altar

Lapis Lazuli by Yeats, my very favourite poet
I have heard that hysterical women say
They are sick of the palette and fiddle-bow.
Of poets that are always gay,
For everybody knows or else should know
That if nothing drastic is done
Aeroplane and Zeppelin will come out.
Pitch like King Billy bomb-balls in
Until the town lie beaten flat.

All perform their tragic play,
There struts Hamlet, there is Lear,
That's Ophelia, that Cordelia;
Yet they, should the last scene be there,
The great stage curtain about to drop,
If worthy their prominent part in the play,
Do not break up their lines to weep.
They know that Hamlet and Lear are gay;
Gaiety transfiguring all that dread.
All men have aimed at, found and lost;
Black out; Heaven blazing into the head:
Tragedy wrought to its uttermost.
Though Hamlet rambles and Lear rages,
And all the drop-scenes drop at once
Upon a hundred thousand stages,
It cannot grow by an inch or an ounce.

On their own feet they came, or On shipboard,'
Camel-back; horse-back, ass-back, mule-back,
Old civilisations put to the sword.
Then they and their wisdom went to rack:
No handiwork of Callimachus,
Who handled marble as if it were bronze,
Made draperies that seemed to rise
When sea-wind swept the corner, stands;
His long lamp-chimney shaped like the stem
Of a slender palm, stood but a day;
All things fall and are built again,
And those that build them again are gay.

Two Chinamen, behind them a third,
Are carved in lapis lazuli,
Over them flies a long-legged bird,
A symbol of longevity;
The third, doubtless a serving-man,
Carries a musical instrument.

Every discoloration of the stone,
Every accidental crack or dent,
Seems a water-course or an avalanche,
Or lofty slope where it still snows
Though doubtless plum or cherry-branch
Sweetens the little half-way house
Those Chinamen climb towards, and I
Delight to imagine them seated there;
There, on the mountain and the sky,
On all the tragic scene they stare.
One asks for mournful melodies;
Accomplished fingers begin to play.
Their eyes mid many wrinkles, their eyes,
Their ancient, glittering eyes, are gay.

i'm finally getting somewhere. breaking open and spilling out. the new therapist, the move home, the blue hands, they are all working. the beads are from mum. and this is my first indigo vat, thanks to glennis!!


  1. Those prayer beads are beautiful. Such lovely stones!

  2. the prayer beads are beautiful but i love even more the cracked paint and wood they lay on...

    here's to getting somewhere and spilling out.... !

  3. i hadn't read this in such a long time. a beautiful accompaniment to your beautiful beads and indigo mood.

  4. flow.

    did you really not wear gloves?????
    i don't want to.
    all my life i've wanted indigo hands

    1. oh yes grace. i cannot do gloves. the indigo has faded some on my hands in the last few days, but it's still there. i so understand that desire, i've wanted blue hands for a couple of years at least!

    2. you two are sister jumblies!

  5. you'll be a blue fugate of kentucky before too long ;) i love your prayer beads and here, here to getting somewhere.

  6. I love the indigo vat pictures, the soft light that gives an aura of magic to the pot. Is there a reflection of the moon, too?

    1. ha, no, it's nothing so romantic - it's the satellite dish!!

      but you're so right, the vat reflects any light beautifully.

  7. Yeats is a favorite of mine as well.
    I was unfamiliar with this poem. Thank you.