COMMEMORATION

 

This poem was written in 1917 by Yeats to celebrate the 1st anniversary of the Easter Rising. I don’t think he would be too impressed if he could see the state of affairs 99 years on

 

Sixteen Dead Men

BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS

O but we talked at large before
The sixteen men were shot,
But who can talk of give and take,
What should be and what not
While those dead men are loitering there
To stir the boiling pot?
You say that we should still the land
Till Germany’s overcome;
But who is there to argue that
Now Pearse is deaf and dumb?
And is their logic to outweigh
MacDonagh’s bony thumb?
How could you dream they’d listen
That have an ear alone
For those new comrades they have found,
Lord Edward and Wolfe Tone,
Or meddle with our give and take
That converse bone to bone?

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