Treasure Island

William Butler Yeats

(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939 / County Dublin / Ireland)

A Dream Of Death


I DREAMED that one had died in a strange place
Near no accustomed hand,
And they had nailed the boards above her face,
The peasants of that land,
Wondering to lay her in that solitude,
And raised above her mound
A cross they had made out of two bits of wood,
And planted cypress round;
And left her to the indifferent stars above
Until I carved these words:
i{She was more beautiful than thy first love,}
i{But now lies under boards.}

Submitted: Tuesday, May 15, 2001
Edited: Tuesday, May 15, 2001

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  • * Sunprincess * (6/9/2014 6:56:00 AM)

    ...........his dream is so poignantly beautiful.... wonder if dreaming of death has a meaning... (Report) Reply

  • John S (10/24/2013 4:46:00 AM)

    Sometimes I am amazed how some great poems get relatively low ratings by members. Just the structure of the poem itself is brilliant. This was back when poets cared about metre and rhyme. The odd numbered lines are about 10 syllables (or beats) & the even number lines are about 5 beats. The poem just flows so well when you read it. The structure gives it a rhythm. The poems plot (if that's what the idea of a poem is called) is touching too. A women dies in a strange place with strangers whom do not know her and do not know what Yeats knows about her. She is a beautiful and magnificent person to Yeats, but to them she is just a stranger of no significance. She is buried by strangers & even the stars are indifferent to her. Think about that next time your walking through a graveyard, passing gravestones without thought. These may be the bodies of faceless people long dead, but to someone they were fathers, mothers, siblings, lovers, someone's first love and someone's last love. Someone who lived, breathed, and dreamed. O death in life, so sad, so strange, the days that are no more. (Report) Reply

  • Ray Quesada (10/13/2012 11:34:00 AM)

    12 lines - Novels spoken. I never get tired of saying THE BEST POETS can do in 12 lines what others have to do in 36. amazing - may Yeats smile in his eternal slumber. (Report) Reply

  • Shannon Brown (1/31/2006 2:07:00 PM)

    Yeats shows us within his 'dream' that death does not have to be an ugly tragidy but from death love can still exist, even when our loved one has passed. (Report) Reply

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