I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name;
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find were she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon
The golden apples of the sun.
-W. B. Yeats
The following information is from the Wikipedia article The Song of Wandering Aengus.
“The Song of Wandering Aengus” is a poem by Irish poet W. B. Yeats. It was first printed in 1897 in British magazine The Sketch under the title “A Mad Song.” It was then published under its standard name in Yeats’ 1899 anthology The Wind Among the Reeds.
Yeats later said that “the poem was suggested to me by a Greek folk song; but the folk belief of Greece is very like that of Ireland, and I certainly thought, when I wrote it, of Ireland, and of the spirits that are in Ireland.” At least one scholar has pointed to the Greek folk song “The Fruit of the Apple Tree” as the likely source of Yeats’ inspiration. That song was included in a volume of Greek poetry translated by Lucy Garnett, which Yeats had written a review of in 1896.
It has been claimed that the poem’s story is based on the Irish god Aengus, and specifically the story of the “Dream of Aengus”, which had first appeared in the 8th century, in which Aengus falls in love with a woman whom he sees only in his dreams.
The poem has also been compared to the aisling genre of Irish poetry, in which a magical woman appears who represents the country of Ireland.
The most famous musical setting of the poem was by Travis Edmonson of the folk duo Bud & Travis. Edmonson titled the song “Golden Apples of the Sun”, and it was released on the 1960 Bud & Travis album Naturally: Folk Songs for the Present. Their version has been covered, sometimes as “Golden Apples of the Sun” and sometimes as “The Song of Wandering Aengus”, by artists including Judy Collins (on the album Golden Apples of the Sun, 1962), Terry Callier (on The New Folk Sound of Terry Callier, 1965), Dave Van Ronk (on No Dirty Names, 1966), Christy Moore (on Ride On, 1984), Peg Millett (on Clear Horizon, 1994), Karan Casey (on Songlines, 1997), Paul Winter (on Celtic Solstice, 1999), 10,000 Maniacs (on Twice Told Tales, 2015) and Tiny Ruins (on Hurtling Through, 2015).
It was also put to music by Benjamin Attahir.
Johnny Flynn put it to music through his adaptation of the poem, Wandering Aengus.