An Acre Of Grass

PICTURE and book remain,
An acre of green grass
For air and exercise,
Now strength of body goes;
Midnight, an old house
Where nothing stirs but a mouse.

My temptation is quiet.
Here at life's end
Neither loose imagination,
Nor the mill of the mind
Consuming its rag and bonc,
Can make the truth known.

Grant me an old man's frenzy,
Myself must I remake
Till I am Timon and Lear
Or that William Blake
Who beat upon the wall
Till Truth obeyed his call;

A mind Michael Angelo knew
That can pierce the clouds,
Or inspired by frenzy
Shake the dead in their shrouds;
Forgotten else by mankind,
An old man's eagle mind.

by William Butler Yeats

Comments (5)

Forgotten else by mankind, An old man's eagle mind. Superb conceptualization. Thanks for sharing it here.
Line 11 of Yeats' An Acre of Grass should be bone.
Line 11 of Yeats' An Acre of Grass should be bone.
Incisive insight, Andrew. Enjoy your comment.
The poet does not wish to go gentle into that good night, but what is left to him in old age? Picture, book and grass for exercising but little challenge to 'make the truth known.' (verse 2) He wishes for an old man's passion, and again invokes his need to be able to summon truth (verse 3) 'An old man's eagle mind' may not be reckoned by mankind, but he is convinced it can still achieve great things. (verse 4) The poem can be seen as a confidence booster by a poet reassuring himself that great work is still within his powers.