One of my favorite poems by one of my favorite poets. If you’re curious about who Mongan is, there’s a good little explanation here.
“Mongan Thinks of His Past Greatness”
by William Butler Yeats
I have drunk ale from the Country of the Young
And weep because I know all things now:
I have been a hazel tree and they hung
The Pilot Star and the Crooked Plough
Among my leaves in times out of mind:
I became a rush that horses tread:
I became a man, a hater of the wind,
Knowing one, out of all things, alone, that his head
Would not lie on the breast or his lips on the hair
Of the woman that he loves, until he dies;
Although the rushes and the fowl of the air
Cry of his love with their pitiful cries.
And if you’re in the mood for something extra awesome, you’ll find a recording of the great Dylan Thomas reciting this poem here (under the title “He Thinks of His Past Greatness”).