Song of the Old Mother

I rise in the dawn, and I kneel and blow
Till the seed of the fire flicker and glow;
And then I must scrub and bake and sweep
Till stars are beginning to blink and peep;
And the young lie long and dream in their bed
Of the matching of ribbons for bosom and head,
And their day goes over in idleness,
And they sigh if the wind but lift up a tress:
While I must work because I am old,
And the seed of the fire gets feeble and cold.

from The Collected Poems of W B Yeats edited by Richard J Finneran (Macmillan 1991), reprinted by permission of A P Watt Ltd on behalf of Michael B Yeats. Recording made on 28 February 1935, used by permission of the BBC.

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William Butler Yeats

W. B. Yeats

1The Stare's Nest by my Window


2The Second Coming


3Sailing to Byzantium


4Leda and the Swan


5The Wild Swans


6The Song of Wandering Aengus


7Long Legged Fly


Books by William Butler Yeats