Collected Poems, by William Butler Yeats

From The Wild Swans at Coole (1919)

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

I KNOW that I shall meet my fate

Somewhere among the clouds above;

Those that I fight I do not hate,

Those that I guard I do not love;

My county is Kiltartan Cross,

My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,

No likely end could bring them loss

Or leave them happier than before.

Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,

Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,

A lonely impulse of delight

Drove to this tumult in the clouds;

I balanced all, brought all to mind

The years to come seemed waste of breath,

A waste of breath the years behind

In balance with this life, this death.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/y/yeats/william_butler/y4c/part55.html

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