The Wild Old Wicked Man

A poem by William Butler Yeats

Because I am mad about women I am mad about the hills," Said that wild old wicked man Who travels where God wills. "Not to die on the straw at home. Those hands to close these eyes, That is all I ask, my dear, From the old man in the skies. i(Daybreak and a candle-end.) "Kind are all your words, my dear, Do not the rest withhold. Who can know the year, my dear, when an old man's blood grows cold? " I have what no young man can have Because he loves too much. Words I have that can pierce the heart, But what can he do but touch?" i(Daybreak and a candle-end.) Then Said she to that wild old man, His stout stick under his hand, "Love to give or to withhold Is not at my command. I gave it all to an older man: That old man in the skies. Hands that are busy with His beads Can never close those eyes." i(Daybreak and a candle-end.) "Go your ways, O go your ways, I choose another mark, Girls down on the seashore Who understand the dark; Bawdy talk for the fishermen; A dance for the fisher-lads; When dark hangs upon the water They turn down their beds. i(Daybreak and a candle-end.) "A young man in the dark am I, But a wild old man in the light, That can make a cat laugh, or Can touch by mother wit Things hid in their marrow-bones From time long passed away, Hid from all those warty lads That by their bodies lay. i(Dayhreak and a candle-end.) "All men live in suffering, I know as few can know, Whether they take the upper road Or stay content on the low, Rower bent in his row-boat Or weaver bent at his loom, Horseman erect upon horseback Or child hid in the womb. i(Daybreak and a candlc-cnd.) "That some stream of lightning From the old man in the skies Can burn out that suffering No right-taught man denies. But a coarse old man am I, I choose the second-best, I forget it all awhile Upon a woman's breast." i(Daybreak and a candlc-end.)

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