the stare's nest in my window


by w.b. yeats
In the notes to this poem, Yeats explains that "In the west of Ireland, we call a starling a stare, and during the civil war, one built a nest in a hole in the masonry by my bedroom window."

The bees build in the crevices
Of loosening masonry, and there
The mother birds bring grubs and flies.
My wall is loosening; honey-bees,
Come build in the empty house of the stare.

We are closed in, and the key is turned
On our uncertainty; somewhere
A man is killed, or a house burned.
Yet no clear fact to be discerned:
Come build in the empty house of the stare.

A barricade of stone or of wood;
Some fourteen days of civil war:
Last night they trundled down the road
That dead young soldier in his blood:
Come build in the empty house of the stare.

We had fed the heart on fantasies,
The heart's grown brutal from the fare,
More substance in our enmities
Than in our love; O honey-bees,
Come build in the empty house of the stare.
1922

Published in The Collected Works of W.B. Yeats, Vol.1, Finneran, Ed, MacMillan Publishing Company, New York 1989. Poem copyright Anne Yeats.




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