William Butler Yeats

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

The Two Trees - Poem by William Butler Yeats

BELOVED, gaze in thine own heart,
The holy tree is growing there;
From joy the holy branches start,
And all the trembling flowers they bear.
The changing colours of its fruit
Have dowered the stars with merry light;
The surety of its hidden root
Has planted quiet in the night;
The shaking of its leafy head
Has given the waves their melody,
And made my lips and music wed,
Murmuring a wizard song for thee.
There the Loves a circle go,
The flaming circle of our days,
Gyring, spiring to and fro
In those great ignorant leafy ways;
Remembering all that shaken hair
And how the winged sandals dart,
Thine eyes grow full of tender care:
Beloved, gaze in thine own heart.
Gaze no more in the bitter glass
The demons, with their subtle guile.
Lift up before us when they pass,
Or only gaze a little while;
For there a fatal image grows
That the stormy night receives,
Roots half hidden under snows,
Broken boughs and blackened leaves.
For ill things turn to barrenness
In the dim glass the demons hold,
The glass of outer weariness,
Made when God slept in times of old.
There, through the broken branches, go
The ravens of unresting thought;
Flying, crying, to and fro,
Cruel claw and hungry throat,
Or else they stand and sniff the wind,
And shake their ragged wings; alas!
Thy tender eyes grow all unkind:
Gaze no more in the bitter glass.

Topic(s) of this poem: tree


Comments about The Two Trees by William Butler Yeats

  • Daniel Chadwick (9/13/2016 9:26:00 PM)


    Love this poem! First encountered it as sung by Loreena McKennitt on her The Mask and the Mirror album...hauntingly beautiful rendition, and absolutely faithful to the text except for repeating the first verse as a chorus at the end. (Report) Reply

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  • Mizzy ........ (9/13/2016 4:45:00 PM)


    Another fine Yeats write......Enjoyed! (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (9/13/2016 4:18:00 PM)


    Now here is an image written by a master- - - -
    There, through the broken branches, go
    The ravens of unresting thought;
    Flying, crying, to and fro,
    Cruel claw and hungry throat,
    Or else they stand and sniff the wind,
    And shake their ragged wings; alas!
    (Report) Reply

  • (9/13/2016 11:51:00 AM)


    Thy tender eyes grow all unkind:
    Gaze no more in the bitter glass.
    Great poem. Thanks for sharing it here.
    (Report) Reply

  • Neal Beightol (9/13/2016 10:25:00 AM)


    The flaming circle of our days.

    So poignant and timely. Look not upon despair and then despair. Look upon the chaos and find the good, or wither away in hopelessness.
    (Report) Reply

  • (9/13/2016 6:54:00 AM)


    An exceptionally beautiful Yeats poem. Mm (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (9/13/2016 5:31:00 AM)


    Gaze no more in the bitter glass. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • (9/13/2016 4:25:00 AM)


    High quality, very passionate and quite beautiful in places. Would read better broken into stanzas. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: music, tree, hair, song, joy, wind, night, heart, light, god, wedding, raven, remember, sleep, change, flower, star



Poem Submitted: Thursday, May 17, 2001

Poem Edited: Wednesday, July 15, 2015


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