William Butler Yeats

My Table

Meditations In Time Of Civil War

Two heavy trestles, and a board Where Sato's gift, a changeless sword, By pen and paper lies, That it may moralise My days out of their aimlessness. A bit of an embroidered dress Covers its wooden sheath. Chaucer had not drawn breath When it was forged. In Sato's house, Curved like new moon, moon-luminous It lay five hundred years. Yet if no change appears No moon; only an aching heart Conceives a changeless work of art. Our learned men have urged That when and where 'twas forged A marvellous accomplishment, In painting or in pottery, went From father unto son And through the centuries ran And seemed unchanging like the sword. Soul's beauty being most adored, Men and their business took Me soul's unchanging look; For the most rich inheritor, Knowing that none could pass Heaven's door, That loved inferior art, Had such an aching heart That he, although a country's talk For silken clothes and stately walk. Had waking wits; it seemed Juno's peacock screamed.