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Copyright 2001 Realization.org.

 

 
 
  POETRY
 

Five Poems by W.B. Yeats

Introduction by LAURA OLSHANSKY

  xxx

 

A Prayer For Old Age

God guard me from those thoughts men think

In the mind alone;

He that sings a lasting song

Thinks in a marrow-bone;

 

From all that makes a wise old man

That can be praised of all;

O what am I that I should not seem

For the song's sake a fool?

 

I pray -- for word is out

And prayer comes round again --

That I may seem, though I die old,

A foolish, passionate man.

From Parnells Funeral and Other Poems, 1935


............

Gratitude To The Unknown Instructors

What they undertook to do

They brought to pass;

All things hang like a drop of dew

Upon a blade of grass.

From The Winding Stair and Other Poems, 1933

............

Spilt Milk

We that have done and thought,

That have thought and done,

Must ramble, and thin out

Like milk spilt on a stone.

From The Winding Stair and Other Poems,1933

............

The Wheel


Through winter-time we call on spring,

And through the spring on summer call,

And when abounding hedges ring

Declare that winter's best of all;

And after that there's nothing good

Because the spring-time has not come --

Nor know that what disturbs our blood

Is but its longing for the tomb.

From The Tower, 1928

............

 

A Dialogue of Self and Soul

A Dialogue of Self and Soul

My Soul. I summon to the winding ancient stair;

Set all your mind upon the steep ascent,

Upon the broken, crumbling battlement,

Upon the breathless starlit air,

"Upon the star that marks the hidden pole;

Fix every wandering thought upon

That quarter where all thought is done:

Who can distinguish darkness from the soul

 

My Self. The consecretes blade upon my knees

Is Sato's ancient blade, still as it was,

Still razor-keen, still like a looking-glass

Unspotted by the centuries;

That flowering, silken, old embroidery, torn

From some court-lady's dress and round

The wodden scabbard bound and wound

Can, tattered, still protect, faded adorn

 

My Soul. Why should the imagination of a man

Long past his prime remember things that are

Emblematical of love and war?

Think of ancestral night that can,

If but imagination scorn the earth

And interllect is wandering

To this and that and t'other thing,

Deliver from the crime of death and birth.

 

My self. Montashigi, third of his family, fashioned it

Five hundred years ago, about it lie

Flowers from I know not what embroidery -

Heart's purple - and all these I set

For emblems of the day against the tower

Emblematical of the night,

And claim as by a soldier's right

A charter to commit the crime once more.

 

My Soul. Such fullness in that quarter overflows

And falls into the basin of the mind

That man is stricken deaf and dumb and blind,

For intellect no longer knows

Is from the Ought, or knower from the Known --

That is to say, ascends to Heaven;

Only the dead can be forgiven;

But when I think of that my tongue's a stone.

 

II

 

My Self. A living man is blind and drinks his drop.

What matter if the ditches are impure?

What matter if I live it all once more?

Endure that toil of growing up;

The ignominy of boyhood; the distress

Of boyhood changing into man;

The unfinished man and his pain

Brought face to face with his own clumsiness;

 

The finished man among his enemies? -

How in the name of Heaven can he escape

That defiling and disfigured shape

The mirror of malicious eyes

Casts upon his eyes until at last

He thinks that shape must be his shape?

And what's the good of an escape

If honour find him in the wintry blast?

 

I am content to live it all again

And yet again, if it be life to pitch

Into the frog-spawn of a blind man's ditch,

A blind man battering blind men;

Or into that most fecund ditch of all,

The folly that man does

Or must suffer, if he woos

A proud woman not kindred of his soul.

 

I am content to follow to its source

Every event in action or in thought;

Measure the lot; forgive myself the lot!

When such as I cast out remorse

So great a sweetness flows into the breast

We must laugh and we must sing,

We are blest by everything,

Everything we look upon is blest.

From The Winding Stair and Other Poems,1933

............

 

The Coming of Wisdom with Time

Though leaves are many, the root is one;

Through all the lying days of my youth

I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun;

Now I may wither into the truth.

From The Green Helmet and Other Poems, 1910



 





 FURTHER READING  

 


xx

 

 

YEATS
By Yeats

Blah blah

 

 

 

This page was published on June 9, 2000.


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