A Purgatorial Poem


Being of a melancholy cast of mind this morning, a purgatorial poem seems best to fit the mood:

Cuchulain Comforted
William Butler Yeats

A man that had six mortal wounds, a man
violent and famous, strode among the dead;
Eyes stared out of the branches and were gone.

Then certain Shrouds that mutter head to head
Came and were gone. He leant upon a tree
As though to meditate on wounds and blood.

A Shroud that seemed to have authority
Among those bird-like things came, and let fall
A bundle of linen. Shrouds by two and three

Came creeping up because the man was still.
And thereupon that linen-carrier said
'Your life can grow much sweeter if you will

'Obey our ancient rule and make a shroud;
Mainly because of what we only know
The rattle of those arms makes us afraid,

'We thread the needles' eyes and all we do
All must together do.' That done, the man
Took up the nearest and began to sew.

'Now we shall sing and sing the best we can
But first you must be told our character:
Convicted cowards all by kindred slain

'Or driven from home and left to die in fear.'
The sand, but had not human notes n or words,
Though all was done in common as before.

They had changed their throats and had the throats of birds.

Something about these shades resonates within me. The poem speaks out of shadow and into shadow and is shadow-strewn all about.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on June 6, 2007 6:50 AM.

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