The pome A crazed girl by William Butler Yeats is the sad story of his relationship with Margot Ruddock. This poem tells us, about the relationship with someone who was considered as mentally unstable.
The crazed girl that Yeats refers to in his poem is Margot Ruddock. She is also known as Margot Collins. That was her stage name. She was an Irish actress, poetess and singer. The two of them started a relationship in 1934. At that time, Yeats was 69 years old. Ruddock was 27 years old (she was born in 1907). Yeats was sort of a mentor to her when it came to her poetry. He edited several of her poems. Some of them were published in the Oxford Book of Modern Verse. Their work relationship changed to a romantic affair at some point. Ruddock was married to Raymond Lovell at that time. For Yeats, this was a typical rebound, as he was turned down by the love of his life, Maude Gonne.
The crazed girl in this poem is Ruddock and in a way, it is Gonne too. Unfortunately, the unstableness that Yeats described happened when he decided to end the relationship with Ruddock.
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
William Butler Yeats Month
This poem is published because in January we commemorate William Butler Yeats.