Collected Poems, by William Butler Yeats

Long-Legged Fly

THAT civilisation may not sink,

Its great battle lost,

Quiet the dog, tether the pony

To a distant post;

Our master Caesar is in the tent

Where the maps ate spread,

His eyes fixed upon nothing,

A hand under his head.

Like a long-legged fly upon the stream

His mind moves upon silence.

That the topless towers be burnt

And men recall that face,

Move most gently if move you must

In this lonely place.

She thinks, part woman, three parts a child,

That nobody looks; her feet

Practise a tinker shuffle

Picked up on a street.

Like a long-legged fly upon the stream

Her mind moves upon silence.

That girls at puberty may find

The first Adam in their thought,

Shut the door of the Pope’s chapel,

Keep those children out.

There on that scaffolding reclines

Michael Angelo.

With no more sound than the mice make

His hand moves to and fro.

Like a long-leggedfly upon the stream

His mind moves upon silence.

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