Not a complicated poem, but with a wistful, nostalgic tone that is quite moving. I’m a sucker for nostalgia anyway. The first line about the Danish priest with horns of fire presents a bit of difficulty through obscurity. That’s his image and there’s no telling what it refers to. A B-girl is hired by a bar to mingle with the customers and encourage them to buy drinks. This one ended up extending her professional duties just a bit further. How about that? A moment in a life—half drunk, one of those moments that happened. It was just something that happened at the time; now, it takes on the glow of nostalgia through memory. I was young, once. I got thrown out of a bar. Remember those wonderful days when you were so young and stupid and full of life that you would get thrown out of bars? Man, those were the days. Boy, I was some kinda specimen. That was something. Thrown right out into the street. Flat on my keister.
This was thirty years ago in Dublin, that momentous time when B. had the ambition and the sand to look for Yeats and have tea with him. That was something too. That was at the beginning. Now, he’s back, toward the end. Now, instead of bars and women, there are horses set out to pasture. They’re certainly beautiful, like Kentucky is beautiful with its white board fences and grazing horses. There is a melancholy symbolic peace to images of grazing horses. Not a lot of activity though.
The only other poetic embellishment is the extended metaphor of fire, which builds off the images set up in DS 305. Fire as a metaphor for the progress of life, and as he makes clear, in his youth he burned. Now—embers.
I got thrown out of a bar once. Four Marines, in fatigues, and one of the guys in the group I was with started mouthing off. Shut up, you idiot! These Marines had zero patience with smart-assery from a bunch of dipshit college kids. They came at us, one at a time, and pitched us out the front door like burlap sacks of corn meal off a wagon bed. I was first, half-drunk anyway, ending up tangled around a parking meter, laughing my head off as my friends got tossed one at a time out the front door, landing each one with a thud on the sidewalk. We were profligate with our fuel then, burning it up, bright and hot. That’s what you’re supposed to do with it.