an encounter with yeats

Plat01_3716_01Avies Platt at The London Review of Books:

It is impossible, at this space of time, to record all that he said, but his voice, his gesture, his appearance and some of his very words, are indelibly printed on my memory. Looking back, I think now as I thought then, that his greatness lay in his simplicity, that direct simplicity only possessed by the truly great. And this simplicity shone out now in two special ways – in his quietness and dignity. I might even say beauty, in that noisy, ugly room, and in his direct sincerity of speech with me, who was, after all, an unknown stranger. And I was a woman. Do not mistake me; this is no self-deprecation! The point is, and to me it is vital, that I am acutely aware that there are many men with alleged claims to greatness, sex equality creeds, and intimate friendships with women, who, nevertheless, cannot, in their inner being, accept women as fellow humans, and are therefore, in my eyes, completely damned. Some, of course, are better than their creed: what Yeats’s creed was, whether he ever formulated one, I do not know. I do know that he accepted me now as one with himself. Obviously, I am not speaking of personal achievement but of human existence. From the sex point of view, or from any other, as I saw him, there was no trace of patronage in him. Fame had left him unspoilt.

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