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William Butler Yeats Short Poems

Famous Short William Butler Yeats Poems. Short poetry by famous poet William Butler Yeats. A collection of the all-time best William Butler Yeats short poems


by William Butler Yeats
 Earth in beauty dressed
Awaits returning spring.
All true love must die, Alter at the best Into some lesser thing.
Prove that I lie.
Such body lovers have, Such exacting breath, That they touch or sigh.
Every touch they give, Love is nearer death.
Prove that I lie.



by William Butler Yeats
 What they undertook to do
They brought to pass;
All things hang like a drop of dew
Upon a blade of grass.

by 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!

by William Butler Yeats
 We sat under an old thorn-tree
And talked away the night,
Told all that had been said or done
Since first we saw the light,
And when we talked of growing up
Knew that we'd halved a soul
And fell the one in t'other's arms
That we might make it whole;
Then peter had a murdering look,
For it seemed that he and she
Had spoken of their childish days
Under that very tree.
O what a bursting out there was, And what a blossoming, When we had all the summer-time And she had all the spring!

by William Butler Yeats
 'Put off that mask of burning gold
With emerald eyes.
' 'O no, my dear, you make so bold To find if hearts be wild and wise, And yet not cold.
' 'I would but find what's there to find, Love or deceit.
' 'It was the mask engaged your mind, And after set your heart to beat, Not what's behind.
' 'But lest you are my enemy, I must enquire.
' 'O no, my dear, let all that be; What matter, so there is but fire In you, in me?'

by William Butler Yeats
 A mermaid found a swimming lad,
Picked him for her own,
Pressed her body to his body,
Laughed; and plunging down
Forgot in cruel happiness
That even lovers drown.

by William Butler Yeats
 Sickness brought me this
Thought, in that scale of his:
Why should I be dismayed
Though flame had burned the whole
World, as it were a coal,
Now I have seen it weighed
Against a soul?



by William Butler Yeats
 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.

by William Butler Yeats
 I bring you with reverent hands
The books of my numberless dreams,
White woman that passion has worn
As the tide wears the dove-grey sands,
And with heart more old than the horn
That is brimmed from the pale fire of time:
White woman with numberless dreams,
I bring you my passionate rhyme.

by William Butler Yeats
 Hurrah for revolution and more cannon-shot!
A beggar upon horseback lashes a beggar on foot.
Hurrah for revolution and cannon come again! The beggars have changed places, but the lash goes on.

by William Butler Yeats
 Come swish around, my pretty punk,
And keep me dancing still
That I may stay a sober man
Although I drink my fill.
Sobriety is a jewel That I do much adore; And therefore keep me dancing Though drunkards lie and snore.
O mind your feet, O mind your feet, Keep dancing like a wave, And under every dancer A dead man in his grave.
No ups and downs, my pretty, A mermaid, not a punk; A drunkard is a dead man, And all dead men are drunk.

by William Butler Yeats
 Speech after long silence; it is right,
All other lovers being estranged or dead,
Unfriendly lamplight hid under its shade,
The curtains drawn upon unfriendly night,
That we descant and yet again descant
Upon the supreme theme of Art and Song:
Bodily decrepitude is wisdom; young
We loved each other and were ignorant.

by William Butler Yeats
 The angels are stooping
Above your bed;
They weary of trooping
With the whimpering dead.
God's laughing in Heaven To see you so good; The Sailing Seven Are gay with His mood.
I sigh that kiss you, For I must own That I shall miss you When you have grown.

by William Butler Yeats
 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.

by William Butler Yeats
 This great purple butterfly,
In the prison of my hands,
Has a learning in his eye
Not a poor fool understands.
Once he lived a schoolmaster With a stark, denying look; A string of scholars went in fear Of his great birch and his great book.
Like the clangour of a bell, Sweet and harsh, harsh and sweet.
That is how he learnt so well To take the roses for his meat.

by William Butler Yeats
 What woman hugs her infant there?
Another star has shot an ear.
What made the drapery glisten so? Not a man but Delacroix.
What made the ceiling waterproof? Landor's tarpaulin on the roof What brushes fly and moth aside? Irving and his plume of pride.
What hurries out the knaye and dolt? Talma and his thunderbolt.
Why is the woman terror-struck? Can there be mercy in that look?

by William Butler Yeats
 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.

by William Butler Yeats
 The intellect of man is forced to choose
perfection of the life, or of the work,
And if it take the second must refuse
A heavenly mansion, raging in the dark.
When all that story's finished, what's the news? In luck or out the toil has left its mark: That old perplexity an empty purse, Or the day's vanity, the night's remorse.

by William Butler Yeats
 I dreamed that I stood in a valley, and amid sighs,
For happy lovers passed two by two where I stood;
And I dreamed my lost love came stealthily out of the wood
With her cloud-pale eyelids falling on dream-dimmed eyes:
I cried in my dream, O women, bid the young men lay
Their heads on your knees, and drown their eyes with your fair,
Or remembering hers they will find no other face fair
Till all the valleys of the world have been withered away.

by William Butler Yeats
 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.

by William Butler Yeats
 Being out of heart with government
I took a broken root to fling
Where the proud, wayward squirrel went,
Taking delight that he could spring;
And he, with that low whinnying sound
That is like laughter, sprang again
And so to the other tree at a bound.
Nor the tame will, nor timid brain, Nor heavy knitting of the brow Bred that fierce tooth and cleanly limb And threw him up to laugh on the bough; No govermnent appointed him.

by William Butler Yeats
 I admit the briar
Entangled in my hair
Did not injure me;
My blenching and trembling,
Nothing but dissembling,
Nothing but coquetry.
I long for truth, and yet I cannot stay from that My better self disowns, For a man's attention Brings such satisfaction To the craving in my bones.
Brightness that I pull back From the Zodiac, Why those questioning eyes That are fixed upon me? What can they do but shun me If empty night replies?

A Coat  Create an image from this poem
by William Butler Yeats
 I made my song a coat
Covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat;
But he fools caught it,
Wore it in the world's eyes
As though they'd wrought it.
Song, let them take it, For there's more enterprise In walking naked.

by William Butler Yeats
 Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That's all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth, I look at you, and I sigh.

by William Butler Yeats
 All things can tempt me from this craft of verse:
One time it was a woman's face, or worse -
The seeming needs of my fool-driven land;
Now nothing but comes readier to the hand
Than this accustomed toil.
When I was young, I had not given a penny for a song Did not the poet Sing it with such airs That one believed he had a sword upstairs; Yet would be now, could I but have my wish, Colder and dumber and deafer than a fish.


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