Love and Glory: Yeats Challenge, Day Fourteen

This is for Jane’s A Month with Yeats Challenge. Today’s quotation is:

“That you, in the dim coming times,
May know how my heart went with them
After the red-rose-bordered hem.” —W.B. Yeats


As a boy he saw them there,

she in white, with flowers in her hair,

he a soldier, a handsome young man,

he saw them thus, and so it began.


He held this image through his life,

he’d go to war, and have a wife,

who’d say farewell in sunlight gold

and they’d continue, till they were old.


He never saw the bloodstained shirt,

the man lying wounded in the dirt,

the woman who traded her white for black,

on lifelong dreams she turned her back.


The boy envisioned a life of glory,

King and country, the same old story,

but finally there with gun in hand,

at last he came to understand.



Camille Clère (1825-1918) (Düsseldorfer Auktionshaus) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons



27 thoughts on “Love and Glory: Yeats Challenge, Day Fourteen

  1. Poignant is the right word. Guns…they seem to be everywhere and in too many hands.
    You are keeping up so well with both shadormas and Jane! I think I will be doing this Yeats challenge on and off for the next 6 months…(K)

    • I read this poem the same way, Derrick! The young man felt as he envisioned his marriage, (just a boy and a girl), he would be brave and successfully make it through the war.
      Not until the gun was in his hand, did herealize how it would end. There’s possibly a sense of portent and dread given through Merril’s beautiful words. . . ~Robin

  2. Despite his seeing a happy couple living in harmony, the boy saw “he” who was to be brave and “she” marrying him in white with flowers in her hair. Your words led me to the ending, as I read Derrick got the same feeling of portent and dread.
    I felt the young man seeing ahead, once the gun is in his hand to his own story. Loss, death and separation coming true in the end. Sadly, not to follow his dream of bravery and successfully living through the war. . .

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