William Butler Yeats
'In our time the destiny of man prevents its meanings
in political terms.
' -- Thomas Mann.
How can I, that girl standing there,
My attention fix
On Roman or on Russian
Or on Spanish politics?
Yet here's a travelled man that knows
What he talks about,
And there's a politician
That has read and thought,
And maybe what they say is true
Of war and war's alarms,
But O that I were young again
And held her in my arms!
I understood the rest too well,
And all their thoughts have come to be
Clear as grey sea-weed in the swell
Of a sunny shallow sea.
But you I never understood,
Your spirit's secret hides like gold
Sunk in a Spanish galleon
Ages ago in waters cold.
In Spanish he whispers there is no time left.
It is the sound of scythes arcing in wheat,
the ache of some field song in Salvador.
The wind along the prison, cautious
as Francisco's hands on the inside, touching
the walls as he walks, it is his wife's breath
slipping into his cell each night while he
imagines his hand to be hers.
It is a small country.
There is nothing one man will not do to another.
Oh, mercifullest one of all,
Oh, generous as dear,
None lived so lowly, none so small,
Thou couldst withhold thy tear:
How swift, in pure compassion,
How meek in charity,
To offer friendship to the one
Who begged but love of thee!
Oh, gentle word, and sweetest said!
Oh, tender hand, and first
To hold the warm, delicious bread
To lips burned black of thirst.
Sea Shell, Sea Shell,
Sing me a song, O Please!
A song of ships, and sailor men,
And parrots, and tropical trees,
Of islands lost in the Spanish Main
Which no man ever may find again,
Of fishes and corals under the waves,
And seahorses stabled in great green caves.
Sea Shell, Sea Shell,
Sing of the things you know so well.
THE LADY in red, she in the chile con carne red,
Brilliant as the shine of a pepper crimson in the summer sun,
She behind a false-face, the much sought-after dancer, the most sought-after dancer of all in this masquerade,
The lady in red sox and red hat, ankles of willow, crimson arrow amidst the Spanish clashes of music,
I sit in a corner
watching her dance first with one man
and then another.
FASTEN black eyes on me.
I ask nothing of you under the peach trees,
Fasten your black eyes in my gray with the spear of a storm.
The air under the peach blossoms is a haze of pink.