Sailing To Byzantium by W B Yeats

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I woke up today to lingering thoughts of this lovely poem that I read a long time ago. Not far behind was the flash of the brilliant Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin thriller that draws its name from the very first line here.

Hope you will enjoy reading it yet again! Keen to hear about what you feel reading it!

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That is no country for old men. The young

In one another’s arms, birds in the trees

—Those dying generations—at their song,

The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,

Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long

Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.

Caught in that sensual music all neglect

Monuments of unageing intellect.

-

An aged man is but a paltry thing,

A tattered coat upon a stick, unless

Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing

For every tatter in its mortal dress,

Nor is there singing school but studying

Monuments of its own magnificence;

And therefore I have sailed the seas and come

To the holy city of Byzantium.

-

O sages standing in God’s holy fire

As in the gold mosaic of a wall,

Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,

And be the singing-masters of my soul.

Consume my heart away; sick with desire

And fastened to a dying animal

It knows not what it is; and gather me

Into the artifice of eternity.

-

Once out of nature I shall never take

My bodily form from any natural thing,

But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make

Of hammered gold and gold enamelling

To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;

Or set upon a golden bough to sing

To lords and ladies of Byzantium

Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

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6 thoughts on “Sailing To Byzantium by W B Yeats

  1. “Whatever is begotten, born, and dies” – sums up August, I think. Everything is overgrown and over-lush and beginning to die. Everything has hit its peak and it’s all downhill, and even the birds and squirrels are sensing it. There’s a sort of desperation in August decay.

    Thanks for sharing this poem. :)

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