Dark Leopards of the Moon

Lines Written in Dejection
by W.B. Yeats

When have I last looked on
The round green eyes and the long wavering bodies
Of the dark leopards of the moon?
All the wild witches, those most noble ladies,
For all their broom-sticks and their tears,
Their angry tears, are gone.
The holy centaurs of the hills are banished;
I have nothing but the harsh sun;
Heroic mother moon has vanished,
And now that I have come to fifty years
I must endure the timid sun.

Years ago when I was single, I used to stay out late at the bars, then wander home half-lit and sit on the back patio of a house I was renting. Two, three in the morning, in mid July, with the moon dodging in and out of fast moving clouds, and one of those big Midwestern weather fronts sweeping in; so blasted hot all day but cool now with a breeze ruffling the lilac bushes and everything looking magical in the summer darkness. When have I last looked on that? Those wavering dark leopards of the moon?

Yeats was a damned genius.


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