A month with Yeats: Day Eight

Today’s quote is taken from ‘The Second Coming’ by W.B. Yeats.


‘The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;’


In Blood they came


In blood they came and blood they took,

For the sake of sins of some eastern race,

The black-robed men with the long-dead god.

In war they came and war they waged,

They brought the sword and the hanging rope,

The thin-lipped men with the cold, dead eyes.

They drove the hart from the mountain side,

The white hind fled from their chanting hoarse,

And the bright-haired folk fled across the sea.

The tide was once a lightsome thing,

Of the waves’ low song and the hiss of foam,

But heavy now with the weight of blood,

It washes in and it washes out,

And never in all these hungry years,

Has it washed the pain from this island’s heart.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

69 thoughts on “A month with Yeats: Day Eight”

    1. I don’t suppose humankind has ever been altogether peaceful, but I imagine that at one time they knew what they were fighting for, and it was probably something very basic and necessary.

  1. This is a great quote and your poem captures the mood very well.
    Unfortunately my posting will be late as for the next three days my lunch time is full with appointments. Trying to get ready fro my upcoming trip in three weeks.

    1. The Romans brought a culture, and when they left, the Briton nobility hung into it because it was positive in many ways. But the Romans never imposed their gods and their gods left with them. Unlike the monks with their God…

      1. I don’t know this book. Looked it up on Goodreads and read the blurb. I don’t think it’s accurate to say that she was the only woman to lead a Celtic tribe into battle, nor was she defending Celtic culture. She was angry, extremely angry, and the Iceni followed the wife of their dead leader. She hated the Romans (rightly so, they killed her husband, raped her and her daughters and then wouldn’t hand over the family silver) and she wanted revenge. She must have been a tremendous woman!

      2. I read the entire series, and they’re all great reads. I’m sure the author took some poetic license. I agree that Boudica may not have been the only woman leader of a Celtic tribe. However, she is the most famous of the ones that opposed the Romans.

      3. Indeed! Especially women that succeeded in defeating them in any way! She must have achieved some victories so significant that even Roman historians could not ignore her! 😀

  2. I’m glad I’m not alone in detesting organised religion. Most of people commenting are not fazed either which is a nice surprise. I usually draw flack when I write anti-religion stuff. The poem is terrific!

    1. Thank you 🙂 I don’t know how I’ve managed to dodge the bullets. I did get comments from a Nazi (let’s call a spade a spade) whose pro-Islam stance was a blind for violent antisemitism, but after I’d made it clear that his views weren’t welcome on my blog he buggered off.

      1. One can! I had occasion to report someone and there’s this whole procedure. I forget the links but one can find it if necessary! A search will get you there.

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