Featured Poem: A Crazed Girl by William Butler Yeats

Here at The Reader’s HQ, the weekend antics of Blur’s Damon Albarn have got everyone talking. After refusing to end a marathon five-hour set at the Roskilde festival in Denmark, Damon was picked up and carried offstage by a man thought to be the stage manager (BBC News), at the heroic hour of 4am – much to the crowd’s disappointment.

I’m sure there are times when many of us have experienced the immersive power of music – though perhaps we don’t reach a point of being literally carried away like Damon. In Yeats’ ‘A Crazed Girl’, the speaker is enthralled by a young woman who finds relief from her harsh existence in singing. Despite the poem’s bleakness, perhaps like the speaker we can take something uplifting from ‘her triumph’ over her situation, through the ‘desperate music’ she makes.

A Crazed Girl 

That crazed girl improvising her music.
Her poetry, dancing upon the shore,

Her soul in division from itself
Climbing, falling she knew not where,
Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship,
Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declare
A beautiful lofty thing, or a thing
Heroically lost, heroically found.

No matter what disaster occurred
She stood in desperate music wound,
Wound, wound, and she made in her triumph
Where the bales and the baskets lay
No common intelligible sound
But sang, ‘O sea-starved, hungry sea.’

William Butler Yeats