Tuesday, October 5, 2021

The Stare's Nest by My Window, by W.B. Yeats

 



The bees build in the crevices
Of loosening masonry, and there
The mother birds bring grubs and flies;
My wall is loosening; honey-bees,
Come build in the empty house of the stare.
We are closed in, and the key is turned
On our uncertainty; somewhere
A man is killed, or a house burned,
Yet no clear fact to be discerned:
Come build in the empty house of the stare.
A barricade of stone or of wood;
Some fourteen days of civil war;
Last night they trundled down the road
That dead young soldier in his blood:
Come build in the empty house of the stare.
We had fed the heart on fantasies,
The heart's grown brutal from the fare;
More substance in our enmities
Than in our love; O honey-bees,
Come build in the empty house of the stare.


Note: the more times I read this poem by Yeats the more impressed I am by it, especially the last stanza. Re. "the stare", it reads on the Internet: "The first urban roost ever recorded was in Dublin's downtown plane trees in the 1840s, when the starling was the "stare" (an Old English word for the bird) and bought for food in city markets."

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