William Butler Yeats (1865–1939)

Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop

William Butler Yeats

[1]

I met the Bishop on the road
And much said he and I.
‘Those breasts are flat and fallen now,
Those veins must soon be dry;
Live in a heavenly mansion,
Not in some foul sty.’

‘Fair and foul are near of kin,
And fair needs foul,’ I cried.
‘My friends are gone, but that’s a truth
Nor grave nor bed denied,
Learned in bodily lowliness
And in the heart’s pride.

‘A woman can be proud and stiff
When on love intent;
But Love has pitched his mansion in
The place of excrement;
For nothing can be sole or whole
That has not been rent.’

 1932


  1. Between 1929 and 1932, Yeats wrote seven poems featuring the wisdom of an old peasant woman who lived in Galway.

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