Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies oƒ Byzantium
Oƒ what is past, or passing, or to come.
It was a jewelled tapestry; cụt rubies hung for fruit
from the trees; lilies sewn into the ground;
the eyes of the unicorn were pearl,
his horn a twist of Ivory,
his mane a fringe of silk.
The lady was all brocade and lace,
her feet impossibly small in scarlet stuf,
a satin band around her waist
divided her neatly in two.
The moon was a cluster of seed pearls,
a silver pomegranate with the skin half gone.
The toy dog’s tongue was a shameless red
as if the blood had run into the thread,
dyed beyond the possibility of death.
And the eye of the little bird
glittered more impatiently than gems;
it tried its beak on its own gold coat
that tied ít to the branch—tore it
stitch by stitch, to shreds
and danced in its naked bones, fragile
as the structure o£a dream, or the anatomy
of lace; its call, a drop of rain
siding down a single silver wire. ˆ
It few into the night—a stroke
or two o£ chaÌk wiped off a sỈate.
The clock strikes; the bony spire of the church
is a black spÌinter
in the dead white thumb of moon.
The mouse comes out to Íorage Íor its young,
looks up and sees, with widening eyes,
the bat, who cannot see
as it sinks its teeth in trembling fur
a face so like its own.