Tom O’Roughley

A poem by William Butler Yeats

‘Though logic choppers rule the town,
And every man and maid and boy
Has marked a distant object down,
An aimless joy is a pure joy,’
Or so did Tom O’Roughley say
That saw the surges running by,
‘And wisdom is a butterfly
And not a gloomy bird of prey.

‘If little planned is little sinned
But little need the grave distress.
What’s dying but a second wind?
How but in zigzag wantonness
Could trumpeter Michael be so brave?’
Or something of that sort he said,
‘And if my dearest friend were dead
I’d dance a measure on his grave.’

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