We Are Closed In

To go for a drink is one thing, to be driven to it is another.

Michael Collins

 

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


Yeats in Civil War

By Eavan Boland

Presently a strange thing happened; / I began to smell honey in places / where honey could not be.

In middle age you exchanged the sandals / Of a pilgrim for a Norman keep / In Galway. Civil war started, vandals / Sacked your country, made off with your sleep;

Somehow you arranged your escape / Aboard a spirit-ship which every day / Hoisted sail out of fire and rape, / And on that ship your mind was stowaway.

The sun mounted on a wasted place, / But the wind at every door and turn / Blew the smell of honey in your face / Where there was none. Whatever we may learn

You are its sum, struggling to survive- / A fantasy of honey in your reprieve.