Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Supernatural Songs (Author: William Butler Yeats)


part 1

Ribh at the Tomb of Baile and Aillinn

  1. Because you have found me in the pitch-dark night
    With open book you ask me what I do.
    Mark and digest my tale, carry it afar
    To those that never saw this tonsured head


    Nor heard this voice that ninety years have cracked.
    Of Baile and Aillinn you need not speak,
    All know their tale, all know what leaf and twig,
    What juncture of the apple and the yew,
    Surmount their bones; but speak what none have heard.
  2. The miracle that gave them such a death
    Transfigured to pure substance what had once
    Been bone and sinew; when such bodies join
    There is no touching here, nor touching there,
    Nor straining joy, but whole is joined to whole;
    For the intercourse of angels is a light
    Where for its moment both seem lost, consumed.
  3. Here in the pitch-dark atmosphere above
    The trembling of the apple and the yew,
    Here on the anniversary of their death,
    The anniversary of their first embrace,
    Those lovers, purified by tragedy,
    Hurry into each other's arms; these eyes,
    By water, herb and solitary prayer
    Made aquiline, are open to that light.
    Though somewhat broken by the leaves, that light
    Lies in a circle on the grass; therein
    I turn the pages of my holy book.