The Cold Heaven

By William Butler Yeats 1865–1939
Suddenly I saw the cold and rook-delighting heaven
That seemed as though ice burned and was but the more ice,   
And thereupon imagination and heart were driven   
So wild that every casual thought of that and this
Vanished, and left but memories, that should be out of season   
With the hot blood of youth, of love crossed long ago;   
And I took all the blame out of all sense and reason,   
Until I cried and trembled and rocked to and fro,   
Riddled with light. Ah! when the ghost begins to quicken,   
Confusion of the death-bed over, is it sent   
Out naked on the roads, as the books say, and stricken   
By the injustice of the skies for punishment?

Source: The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats (1989)

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Poet William Butler Yeats 1865–1939

POET’S REGION Ireland

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Religion, Death, Living

 William Butler Yeats

Biography

William Butler Yeats is widely considered to be one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century. He belonged to the Protestant, Anglo-Irish minority that had controlled the economic, political, social, and cultural life of Ireland since at least the end of the seventeenth century. Most members of this minority considered themselves English people who merely happened to have been born in Ireland, but Yeats was staunch in . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, Death, Living

POET’S REGION Ireland

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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