William Butler Yeats

In Memory Of Alfred Pollexfen

Five-and-twenty years have gone Since old William pollexfen Laid his strong bones down in death By his wife Elizabeth In the grey stone tomb he made. And after twenty years they laid In that tomb by him and her His son George, the astrologer; And Masons drove from miles away To scatter the Acacia spray Upon a melancholy man Who had ended where his breath began. Many a son and daughter lies Far from the customary skies, The Mall and Eades's grammar school, In London or in Liverpool; But where is laid the sailor John That so many lands had known, Quiet lands or unquiet seas Where the Indians trade or Japanese? He never found his rest ashore, Moping for one voyage more. Where have they laid the sailor John? And yesterday the youngest son, A humorous, unambitious man, Was buried near the astrologer, Yesterday in the tenth year Since he who had been contented long. A nobody in a great throng, Decided he would journey home, Now that his fiftieth year had come, And 'Mr. Alfred' be again Upon the lips of common men Who carried in their memory His childhood and his family. At all these death-beds women heard A visionary white sea-bird Lamenting that a man should die; And with that cry I have raised my cry.

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