On A Political Prisoner

by William Butler Yeats

She that but little patience knew,

From childhood on, had now so much

A grey gull lost its fear and flew

Down to her cell and there alit,

And there endured her fingers' touch

And from her fingers ate its bit.



Did she in touching that lone wing

Recall the years before her mind

Became a bitter, an abstract thing,

Her thought some popular enmity:

Blind and leader of the blind

Drinking the foul ditch where they lie?



When long ago I saw her ride

Under Ben Bulben to the meet,

The beauty of her country-side

With all youth's lonely wildness stirred,

She seemed to have grown clean and sweet

Like any rock-bred, sea-borne bird:



Sea-borne, or balanced on the air

When first it sprang out of the nest

Upon some lofty rock to stare

Upon the cloudy canopy,

While under its storm-beaten breast

Cried out the hollows of the sea.