Written by WB Yeats in 1918 as an epitah for a fallen Irish soldier, An Irish Airman Foresees His Death is haunting and beautiful. It’s also a gentle reminder, that in life and death, we answer to ourselves first.
I know that I shall meet my fate,
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.
Courtesy an inspired morning tube ride to work and TFL’s Poems on the Underground. Culture where you least expect it.