“The harlot and the child”: 2 Late Poems from W. B. Yeats

While always a political poet in some way, Yeats shows at the end of his life where his priorities were, essentially with love & the occult. & amazing too to see how his use of rhyme, which went from the glittering ornamentation of his youth to the simplicity of these poems, is always stunning:


Those Images

What if I bade you leave
The cavern of the mind?
There’s better exercise
In the sunlight and wind.

I never bade you go
To Moscow or to Rome.
Renounce that drudgery,
Call the Muses home.

Seek those images
That constitute the wild,
The lion and the virgin,
The harlot and the child.

Find in middle air
An eagle on the wing,
Recognise the five
That make the Muses sing.



How can I, that girl standing there,
My attention fix
On Roman or on Russian
Or on Spanish politics,
Yet here’s a travelled man that knows
What he talks about,
And there’s a politician
That has both read and thought,
And maybe what they say is true
Of war and war’s alarms,
But O that I were young again
And held her in my arms.