Favorite Sentences: I Must Lie Down Where All the Ladders Start
By Nick Chhoeun
I must break the rule slightly because the sentence that stuck out to me when thinking about my favorite sentence is actually two lines from the poem The Circus Animals’ Desertion by W.B Yeats. The lines are,
I must lie down where all the ladders start
In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.
The Circus Animals’ Desertion is one the last poems Yeats wrote before his death. The poem is a reflection on his past work and the current state of his writing. To me, these lines can mean, among other things, that Yeats believed his writing ability was dead and that he felt that he must settle amongst what he had already written. This can be supported by the sad themes in the last poems of his career.
I take a more optimistic approach to these lines. The lines “I must lie down where all the ladders start/ In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart” help me find motivation to write.
Motivation sometimes is at a low in my writing. These lines remind me about what influences my passion to write and that sometimes the best way to find inspiration is to start over with an open mind. Moving forward in writing can also be achieved by going back to the basic techniques, “where all the ladders start.” What we write comes from the heart and we must remember to stick to what motivated us from the beginning. These lines constantly remind me to stay true to the things that first started my passion for writing.
Image: The Paris Review
Nick Chhoeun is a staff editor at Café Américain and a first-year candidate in American University’s Creative Writing MFA program.