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Posts Tagged ‘William Butler Yeats’

Now all the truth is out,
Be secret and take defeat
From any brazen throat,
For how can you compete,
Being honour bred, with one
Who, were it proved he lies,
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbours’ eyes?
Bred to a harder thing
Than Triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Whereon mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known
That is most difficult.

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For one throb of the artery,
While on that old grey stone I sat
Under the old wind-broken tree,
I knew that One is animate,
Mankind inanimate phantasy.

 

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Autumn is over the long leaves that love us,
And over the mice in the barley sheaves;
Yellow the leaves of the rowan above us,
And yellow the wet wild-strawberry leaves. 

The hour of waning of love has beset us,
And weary and worn are our sad souls now;
Let us part, ere the season of passion forget us,
With a kiss and a tear on thy dropping brow.

 

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A pity beyond all telling
Is hid in the heart of love:
The folk who are buying and selling,
The clouds on their journey above,
The cold wet winds ever blowing,
And the shadowy hazel grove
Where mouse-grey waters are flowing,
Threaten the head that I love.

 

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I dreamed that one had died in a strange place
Near no accustomed hand;
And they had nailed the boards above her face,
The peasants of that land.
Wondering to lay her in that solitude,
And raised above her mound
A cross they had made out of two bits of wood
And planted cypress round;
And left her to the indifferent stars above
Until I carved these words:
She was more beautiful than thy first love,
But now lies under boards.

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Shy one, shy one,
Shy one of my heart,
She moves in the firelight
Pensively apart. 

She carries in the dishes,
And lays them in a row.
To an isle in the water
With her I would go. 

She carries in the candles,
And lights the curtained room,
Shy in the doorway
And shy in the gloom; 

And shy as a rabbit,
Helpful and shy.
To an isle in the water
With her would I fly.

 

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I, the poet William Yeats
With old mill boards and sea-green slates,
And smithy work from the Gort forge,
Restored this tower for my wife George;
And may these characters remain
When all is ruin once again.

 

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Although I shelter from the rain
Under a broken tree,
My chair was nearest to the fire
In every company
That talked of love or politics,
Ere Time transfigured me. 

Though lads are making pikes again
For some conspiracy,
And crazy rascals rage their fill
At human tyranny;
My contemplations are of Time
That has transfigured me. 

There’s not a woman turns her face
Upon a broken tree,
And yet the beauties that I loved
Are in my memory;
I spit into the face of Time
That has transfigured me.

 

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All the heavy days are over;
Leave the body’s coloured pride
Underneath the grass and clover,
With the feet laid side by side. 

Bathed in flaming founts of duty
She’ll not ask a haughty dress;
Carry all that mournful beauty
To the scented oaken press. 

Did the kiss of Mother Mary
Put that music in her face?
Yet she goes with footstep wary,
Full of earth’s old timid grace. 

‘Mong the feet of angels seven
What a dancer, glimmering!
All the heavens bow down to Heaven,
Flame to flame and wing to wing.

 

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Others because you did not keep
That deep-sworn vow have been friends of mine,
Yet always when I look death in the face,
When I clamber to the heights of sleep,
Or when I grow excited with wine,
Suddenly I meet your face.

 

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