W. B. Yeats







An Irish Airman foresees his Death



I KNOW that I shall meet my fate  

Somewhere among the clouds above;       

Those that I fight I do not hate        

Those that I guard I do not love;    

My country is Kiltartan Cross,                 

My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,   

No likely end could bring them loss          

Or leave them happier than before.

Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,    

Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,      

A lonely impulse of delight 

Drove to this tumult in the clouds;

I balanced all, brought all to mind,

The years to come seemed waste of breath,          

A waste of breath the years behind             

In balance with this life, this death.