Pass on a poem

From Responsibilities and Other Poems, by W. B. Yeats  (Irish, 1865-1939)

 Dance there upon the shore;
What need have you to care
For wind or water’s roar?
And tumble out your hair
That the salt drops have wet;
Being young you have not known
The fool’s triumph, nor yet
Love lost as soon as won,
Nor the best labourer dead
And all the sheaves to bind.
What need have you to dread
The monstrous crying of wind?
Has no one said those daring
Kind eyes should be more learn’d?
Or warned you how despairing
The moths are when they are burned,
I could have warned you, but you are young,
So we speak a different tongue.
O you will take whatever’s offered
And dream that all the world’s a friend,
Suffer as your mother suffered,
Be as broken in the end.
But I am old and you are young,
And I speak a barbarous tongue.


The next Pass on a Poem evening, where you can read or listen to other people reading poems (not their own) will be on Wednesday 23rd April in Elgin Crescent. To take part email [email protected] and read more at  Also, there is a new Pass on a Poem at Blackwells Bookshop in Oxford which will have its first meeting on 11th June. If you know anyone who would like to go they can use the same email, [email protected]

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