Tuesday, June 28, 2016

That the Witch of Atlas Knew

"Under Ben Bulben" (1939)

Many times man lives and dies
Between his two eternities,
That of race and that of soul,
And ancient Ireland knew it all.
Whether man die in his bed
Or the rifle knocks him dead,
A brief parting from those dear
Is the worst man has to fear.
Though grave-digger's toil is long,
Sharp their spades, their muscles strong,
They but thrust their buried men
Back in the human mind again. 
Under bare Ben Bulben's head
In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid.
An ancestor was rector there
Long years ago, a church stands near,
By the road an ancient cross.
No marble, no conventional phrase;
On limestone quarried near the spot
By his command these words are cut:
Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!
(-- William Butler Yeats, 1865-1939).
Today's Rune: Harvest. 


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Naturally, I cannot think about Yeats and cemeteries without singing a little bit of the Smiths.

Charles Gramlich said...

It has been a long time since I read any Yeats

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I read a lot of Yeats in college. This makes me want to read Yeats again. I think I need it in my life.

the walking man said...

Horsemen stop and let your nags forage, not that I would, in the moment, care.