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Read more poems by William Butler Yeats: William Butler Yeats Poems at Poetry X.

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A Bronze Head

William Butler Yeats

Here at right of the entrance this bronze head,
Human, superhuman, a bird's round eye,
Everything else withered and mummy-dead.
What great tomb-haunter sweeps the distant sky
(Something may linger there though all else die;)
And finds there nothing to make its tetror less
Hysterica passio of its own emptiness?

No dark tomb-haunter once; her form all full
As though with magnanimity of light,
Yet a most gentle woman; who can tell
Which of her forms has shown her substance right?
Or maybe substance can be composite,
profound McTaggart thought so, and in a breath
A mouthful held the extreme of life and death.

But even at the starting-post, all sleek and new,
I saw the wildness in her and I thought
A vision of terror that it must live through
Had shattered her soul.  Propinquity had brought
Imagiation to that pitch where it casts out
All that is not itself:  I had grown wild
And wandered murmuring everywhere, 'My child, my
    child.'

Or else I thought her supernatural;
As though a sterner eye looked through her eye
On this foul world in its decline and fall;
On gangling stocks grown great, great stocks run dry,
Ancestral pearls all pitched into a sty,
Heroic reverie mocked by clown and knave,
And wondered what was left for massacre to save.

Added: 2 Mar 2002 | Last Read: 20 Sep 2018 4:17 PM | Viewed: 8263 times

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URL: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/3321/ | Viewed on 20 September 2018.
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