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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Before I Am Old I Shall Have Written Him One Poem Maybe As Cold And Passionate As The Dawn

ALTHOUGH I can see him still,
The freckled man who goes
To a grey place on a hill
In grey Connemara clothes
At dawn to cast his flies,         5
It’s long since I began
To call up to the eyes
This wise and simple man.
All day I’d looked in the face
What I had hoped ’twould be  10
To write for my own race
And the reality;
The living men that I hate,
The dead man that I loved,
The craven man in his seat,  15
The insolent unreproved,
And no knave brought to book
Who has won a drunken cheer,
The witty man and his joke
Aimed at the commonest ear,  20
The clever man who cries
The catch-cries of the clown,
The beating down of the wise
And great Art beaten down.
  
Maybe a twelvemonth since  25
Suddenly I began,
In scorn of this audience,
Imagining a man
And his sun-freckled face,
And grey Connemara cloth,  30
Climbing up to a place
Where stone is dark under froth,
And the down turn of his wrist
When the flies drop in the stream:
A man who does not exist,  35
A man who is but a dream;
And cried, ‘Before I am old
I shall have written him one
Poem maybe as cold
And passionate as the dawn.’  40

-William Butler Yeats

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