Collected Poems, by William Butler Yeats

High Talk

PROCESSIONS that lack high stilts have nothing that catches the eye.

What if my great-granddad had a pair that were twenty foot high,

And mine were but fifteen foot, no modern Stalks upon higher,

Some rogue of the world stole them to patch up a fence or a fire.

Because piebald ponies, led bears, caged lions, are but poor shows,

Because children demand Daddy-long-legs upon this timber toes,

Because women in the upper storeys demand a face at the pane,

That patching old heels they may shriek, I take to chisel and plane.

Malachi Stilt-Jack am I, whatever I learned has run wild,

From collar to collar, from stilt to stilt, from father to child.

All metaphor, Malachi, stilts and all. A barnacle goose

Far up in the stretches of night; night splits and the dawn breaks loose;

I, through the terrible novelty of light, stalk on, stalk on;

Those great sea-horses bare their teeth and laugh at the dawn.

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 14:50