Friday, June 13, 2008

Birthday

of William Butler Yeats, one of the best poets of the 20th Century. He is buried in a little country churchyard outside of the city of Sligo, in the West of Ireland. We made a pilgrimage there in the fall of '06. Writer's Almanac nudged me on his birthday.

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!

You can read the entire poem here, and it's worth the little bit of trouble.

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