Through an accidental crack in the curtain
I can see the eight o'clock light change from
to a faint gassy blue, inventing things
in the morning that has a thick skin of ice on it
as the water tank has,
so nothing flows, all is bone,
telling its tale of how hard the night had to be
for any heart caught out in it,
just flesh and blood
no match for the mindless chill that's settled in,
a great stone bird, its wings stretched stiff
the tip of Letter Hill to the cobbled bay, its gaze
glacial, its hook-and-scrabble claws fast clamped
on every window,
its petrifying breath a cage
in which all the warmth we were is shivering.
Now that we've come to the end
I've been trying to piece it together,
that distance makes anything clearer.
It began in the half-light
While we walked through the dawn chorus
party that lasted all night,
With the blackbird, the wood-pigeon,
The song-thrush taking a bludgeon
To a snail, our
taking each other's hand
As if the whole world lay before us.
- - - - - - -
He opens the scullery door, and a sudden rush
of wind, as raw as
brushes past him as he himself will brush
past the stacks of straw
that stood in earlier for Crow
Comanche tepees hung with scalps
but tonight past muster, row upon row,
for the foothills of the Alps.
opens the door of the peeling-shed
just as one of the apple-peelers
(one of almost a score
of red-cheeked men who
the red-cheeked apples for a few spare
shillings) mutters something about bloodshed
The red-cheeked men put down their knives
at one and the same
moment. All but his father,
who somehow connives
to close one eye as if taking aim
or holding back a tear,
and shoots him a glance
he might take,
as it whizzes past his ear,
for a Crow, or a Comanche, lance
hurled through the Tilley-lit
gloom of the peeling-shed,
he hears what must be an apple split
above his head.
"Leda and the Swan"
A sudden blow: the great wings beating
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught
in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.
How can those terrified vague fingers
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?
A shudder in the loins engenders
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?
- - - - - - - -
"The Lake Isle of Innisfree"
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
evening full of the linnet's wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
hear it in the deep heart's core.
- - - - - - - - -
and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed,
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
- - - - - - - - -
"When You are Old"
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
his face amid a crowd of stars.