And how the silence surged softly backward, When the plunging hoofs were gone. - Walter de la Mare

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

by W.B Yeats

1. I know that I shall meet my fate
2. Somewhere among the clouds above;
3. Those that I fight I do not hate,
4. Those that I guard I do not love;
5. My country is Kiltartan Cross,
6. My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,
7. No likely end could bring them loss
8. Or leave them happier than before.
9. Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
10. Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
11. A lonely impulse of delight
12. Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
13. I balanced all, brought all to mind,
14. The years to come seemed waste of breath,
15. A waste of breath the years behind
16. In balance with this life, this death.

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Click on a line to see some annotations. 1. Well duh, we all have to meet our fate eventually. 2. I'm surprised people like this would even get in the sky. He's not interested to the glory of battle and his deathwish wouldn't exactly inspire confidence in how much effort he'd put in with the whole fighting back part of the war. 3. I think those are truly the hardest fights. 4. Hey, we all have our reasons to fight. He's no different. 5. A lovely part of Ireland, located on the west coast of Galway. 6. Hfrtj 7. Guy must have been suicidal to go in with an attitude like that. 8. Yeats knew that the war wouldn't have any impact on the ordinary Irish person. 9. Ridiculous that laws ever made anyone fight. Conscription...what a a joke. 10. "Cheering Crowds" - Jingoism was motivation for alot of soldiers in the first world war. 11. Fuck this site!!! 12. Clouds making a reappearance from here from line 2. 13. If I was the pilot in this poem, I wouldn't be making rational decisions unless I had a bottle of Jameson taken. 14. Great line. 15. Truly, the highpoint of his life. 16. I'll see you in Valhalla, fictional poem pilot!