Has marked a distant object down,
An aimless joy is a pure joy,'
Or so did Tom O'Roughley say
That saw the surges running by,
'And wisdom is a butterfly
And not a gloomy bird of prey.
'If little planned is little sinned
But little need the grave distress.
What's dying but a second wind?
How but in zigzag wantonness
Could trumpeter Michael be so brave?'
Or something of that sort he said,
'And if my dearest friend were dead
I'd dance a measure on his grave.'
THE SAD SHEPHERD
That cry's from the first cuckoo of the year
I wished before it ceased.
Nor bird nor beast
Could make me wish for anything this day,
Being old, but that the old alone might die,
And that would be against God's Providence.
Let the young wish. But what has brought you here?
Never until this moment have we met
Where my goats browse on the scarce grass or
There were surprisingly few striking poems in this book--the title poem, An Irish Airman Forsees His Death, On Being Asked For A War Poem, and a couple of others. Not that the writing is clumsy, stereotyped, or juvenile, it isn't. Most of it just isn't William Kick-butt Yeats.
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