by: William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

      UMHAL called out, bending his head,
      Till Dathi came and stood,
      With a blink in his eyes, at the cave-mouth,
      Between the wind and the wood.
      And Cumhal said, bending his knees,
      'I have come by the windy way
      To gather the half of your blessedness
      And learn to pray when you pray.
      I can bring you salmon out of the streams
      And heron out of the skies.'
      But Dathi folded his hands and smiled
      With the secrets of God in his eyes.
      And Cumhal saw like a drifting smoke
      All manner of blessed souls,
      Women and children, young men with books,
      And old men with croziers and stoles.
      'Praise God and God's Mother, Dathi said,
      'For God and God's Mother have sent
      The blessedest souls that walk in the world
      To fill your heart with content.'
      'And which is the blessedest,' Cumhal said,
      'Where all are comely and good?
      Is it these that with golden thuribles
      Are singing about the wood?'
      'My eyes are blinking,' Dathi said,
      'With the secrets of God half blind,
      But I can see where the wind goes
      And follow the way of the wind;
      'And blessedness goes where the wind goes,
      And when it is gone we are dead;
      I see the blessedest soul in the world
      And he nods a drunken head.
      'O blessedness comes in the night and the day
      And whither the wise heart knows;
      And one has seen in the redness of wine
      The Incorruptible Rose,
      'That drowsily drops faint leaves on him
      And the sweetness of desire,
      While time and the world are ebbing away
      In twilights of dew and of fire.'

"The Blessed" is reprinted from The Wind Among the Reeds. W.B. Yeats. London: Elkin Mathews, 1899.




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