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“Far off in drowsy valleys,
Where the meadow saffrons blow”


Love and Death

W B Yeats


Behold the flashing waters,
A cloven, dancing jet,
That from the milk-white marble
Forever foam and fret;
Far off in drowsy valleys,
Where the meadow saffrons blow,
The feet of summer dabble
In their coiling calm and slow.
The banks are worn forever
By a people sadly gay;
A Titan, with loud laughter,
Made them of fire and clay.
Go ask the springing flowers,
And the flowing air above:
What are the twin-born waters?
  And they’ll answer: Death and Love.

With wreaths of withered flowers
Two lonely spirits wait,
With wreaths of withered flowers,
’Fore paradise’s gate.
They may not pass the portal,
Poor earth-enkindled pair,
Though sad is many a spirit
To pass and leave them there
Still staring at their flowers,
That dull and faded are,
And if one should rise beside thee,
The other is not far.
Go ask the youngest angel,
She will say with bated breath:
By the door of Mary’s garden
  Are the spirits Love and Death.

 

(N.B. This poem has also been beautifully set to music by the Waterboys)

Return to List of Poems by W B Yeats - by Title
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