William Butler Yeats

(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939 / County Dublin / Ireland)

Politics


HOW can I, that girl standing there,
My attention fix
On Roman or on Russian
Or on Spanish politics?
Yet here's a travelled man that knows
What he talks about,
And there's a politician
That has read and thought,
And maybe what they say is true
Of war and war's alarms,
But O that I were young again
And held her in my arms!

Submitted: Tuesday, May 15, 2001

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  • Alia A (1/12/2014 6:32:00 PM)

    How can the poet pay attention to politics when he can see a young girl standing at a little distance? There is a politician who is having much knowledge regarding the political world and on the other hand there is a traveler who has gained a lot of knowledge after having experiences in life but the poet does not seem interested in politics and tourism, for him the force of love is stronger than other worldly matters. He is bewitched by the beauty of a girl. He has preferred youth and love instead of politics. The last two lines are lovely. The poem is simple but portrays reality. (Report) Reply

  • Victoria Yeates (11/18/2013 4:12:00 AM)

    I reckon this poem may well have influenced the Beatles' when I saw her standing there. The beautiful simplicity of its structure and words captures the real concerns of our human hearts. It is to feel passionate love and preferably when young enough for such glory to have physical expression. With brilliant brevity the poet uses the jaded eye of an experienced and educated man to express both regret for the passage of time and the meaningless of power grabbing politics when set against the joy of love returned. (Report) Reply

  • Joe Kornfeld (1/2/2012 7:03:00 PM)

    This poems lacks the concrete detail and arresting metaphor that I normally crave, yet it gives me goose pimples. (Report) Reply

  • fleur de lys (7/30/2009 6:37:00 PM)

    I first heard this poem as a teenager and loved it. Brilliant sentiment and humour. (Report) Reply

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