Quoting Yeats


Sir, – I object to Naomi O’Leary’s article about Joe Biden’s speeches (“A politician’s choice of poet tells us a lot”, World, June 17th). I didn’t think it was incongruous for the current president to use WB Yeats’s poetry. Actually it was in harmony with the time, especially after what we had to listen to from President Trump for the last four years. As for him putting across the image of an ordinary Joe, thank God for that. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Could someone please let David McWilliams know that the shopkeeper in Yeats’s September 1913, to which he makes repeated references to as “the unromantic but ultimately peaceful shopkeeper”, is not named O’ Leary (“Educated elite have become more left wing”, Opinion, June 12th).

The O’Leary of the poem is in fact John O’Leary, a founding member of the Fenians and the IRB, arguably the polar opposite of David McWilliams’s notional O’Leary. Perhaps, in light of this, your columnist might reconsider his inclusion of economists in the “Sage caste” or, failing that, at least have another go at reading the poem? – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.