William Butler Yeats

With William Butler Yeats I see a striking parallel:
of politics and prosody, a marriage made in hell;
each new idea casting an elusive, mastering spell
with only moments in between for time and space to gel
and being armed with will alone, in one’s own Book of Kells
to find only the missing pieces, husks and empty shells.

The tragedy of Poetry, perhaps, or an Irish Curse:
to reclaim places as your own that did not claim you first,
and seek beyond the shapes of things, to slake an inner thirst
that wrecks the lives of those you know, and your loved ones, the worst.
To know that which you think you know is only myth and verse
Composed by some like-minded fool lost in the universe.

In contradictions to define an image of a sage
who mirthless, hoards some trust of great lore, page by page
devouring through the night as restless demons, in their rage
rattle the bars that you now see, in corners of your cage.

Yet hoping, until that last breath
that as with living, so with death
a chain of endless counted days
extended, infinite, both ways.

With that vision in mind, there is no defeat.
There are countless stories to discover, tell and retell;
and somewhere on that line, that existential parallel
you actually find William Butler Yeats.

06 MAY 2004

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