Collected Poems, by William Butler Yeats

On a Picture of a Black Centaur by Edmund Dulac

YOUR hooves have stamped at the black margin of the wood,

Even where horrible green parrots call and swing.

My works are all stamped down into the sultry mud.

I knew that horse-play, knew it for a murderous thing.

What wholesome sun has ripened is wholesome food to eat,

And that alone; yet I, being driven half insane

Because of some green wing, gathered old mummy wheat

In the mad abstract dark and ground it grain by grain

And after baked it slowly in an oven; but now

I bring full-flavoured wine out of a barrel found

Where seven Ephesian topers slept and never knew

When Alexander’s empire passed, they slept so sound.

Stretch out your limbs and sleep a long Saturnian sleep;

I have loved you better than my soul for all my words,

And there is none so fit to keep a watch and keep

Unwearied eyes upon those horrible green birds.

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