Thursday, April 27, 2006

Poetry Thursday and another paired poem

Deb used High Flight for her poem this Thursday. I always tear up when I read it. The following poem is one that shows the same love of flight in the context of an earlier war. Robert Gregory was the son of Yeat's dear friend Lady Gregory. Flying was a passion, an obsession for him, and in 1915, Gregory joined the war effort, although Ireland was neutral. He earned a Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty, and was shot down over Italy in 1918.

An Irish Airman Forsees 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 county 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.

William Butler Yeats
And Much Less Than High Flight- the baby robins left their nest yesterday, and here is one whose flight was less than stellar on the first try. Careful not to touch, Mila talks to him, telling him that his mother is calling to him, and waving "bye bye" to him as she leaves.


  1. I love that poem too.

    Your bird and Mila pics are gorgeous!

  2. oh precious these robins and the audience, too! i wish they were nested at my house! :)

    this poem brings me much sadness.

    it would seem the love of flight could guide one into the skies from a different perspective than war.

    ...Those that I fight I do not hate,
    Those that I guard I do not love;...

    i wonder how many who are fighting now in iraq or who have fought in other wars have felt this same dispassion.

    it is hard to imagine killing without some degree of passion for the cause.


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