Below this post you will find another with a video with the song of a goldfinch and lovely pictures. Yeats' golden bird upon a golden bough made me think of the brilliant yellow finch I saw a day or two ago as we drove out of the ravine into a dreary gray moment. The van stopped at a light and there he was just a few feet from me. I could see his throat pulsing, so I rolled down the window, and there was his golden song. This poem came to me. This is how poetry once was written.
Sailing to Byzantium
by William Butler Yeats
That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the
---Those dying generations---at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unaging intellect.
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.
O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.
Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.