ON A POLITICAL PRISONER
by: W. B. Yeats (1865-1939)
- HE that but little patience knew,
- From childhood on, had now so much
- A grey gull lost its fear and flew
- Down to her cell and there alit,
- And there endured her fingers' touch
- And from her fingers ate its bit.
- Did she in touching that lone wing
- Recall the years before her mind
- Became a bitter, an abstract thing,
- Her thought some popular enmity:
- Blind and leader of the blind
- Drinking the foul ditch where they lie?
- When long ago I saw her ride
- Under Ben Bulben to the meet,
- The beauty of her country-side
- With all youth's lonely wildness stirred,
- She seemed to have grown clean and sweet
- Like any rock-bred, sea-borne bird:
- Sea-borne, or balanced in the air
- When first it sprang out of the nest
- Upon some lofty rock to stare
- Upon the cloudy canopy,
- While under its storm-beaten breast
- Cried out the hollows of the sea.
POEMS BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS
"On a Political Prisoner"
is reprinted from Michael Robartes and the Dancer. W.B.
Yeats. New York: Macmillan, 1921.