William Butler Yeats

A Bronze Head

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.

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