Verse > W.B. Yeats > Responsibilities and Other Poems

W.B. Yeats (1865–1939).  Responsibilities and Other Poems.  1916.

22. To a Child dancing in the Wind


DANCE there upon the shore;
What need have you to care 
For wind or water’s roar? 
And tumble out your hair 
That the salt drops have wet;         5
Being young you have not known 
The fool’s triumph, nor yet 
Love lost as soon as won, 
Nor the best labourer dead 
And all the sheaves to bind.  10
What need have you to dread 
The monstrous crying of wind? 

Has no one said those daring
Kind eyes should be more learn’d? 
Or warned you how despairing  15
The moths are when they are burned, 
I could have warned you, but you are young, 
So we speak a different tongue. 
O you will take whatever’s offered 
And dream that all the world’s a friend,  20
Suffer as your mother suffered, 
Be as broken in the end. 
But I am old and you are young, 
And I speak a barbarous tongue. 



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