Original poem reprinted online here: "A Drinking Song" by William Butler Yeats
Originally read: October 2, 2013
More information about the Poet: William Butler Yeats
So I don't know much about drinking songs. I went here to listen to some drinking songs. Damn, depressing (or the ones I listened to: "O Danny Boy", "Seven Drunken Nights" "Molly Malone" -- it could've been my luck in selection). If I was drinking, I wouldn't want to hear them.
I think this poem, and some drinking songs, show why a person is drinking -- kind of like kicking themselves repeatedly for whatever reason: reliving the pain to dull it again, or to remember something good at least.
"Wine comes in at the mouth / And love comes in at the eye." So the rhyme scheme of this poem is an ababab rhyme scheme to accentuate the separation, but this starts out wistful enough, and then, "That's all we shall know for truth / Before we grow old and die." Welp, all right. We know that wine is on the mouth, love is in the eye and that's as far as we get -- oh we grow old and die eventually.
"I lift the glass to my mouth / I look at you, and I sigh." Who knows what caused the separation or what's there? Yes, theoretically, this could be about Maud Gonne and Yeat's love of her. But take note that this is the speakers perception of the situation. So the idea, at least in this poem, stands out more than who, specifically, this poem is directed to. The inability to love someone and only having wine to fall back on -- that sounds like a good life to me, but depressing for others I suppose.