blot of ink

On one of our trips to Ireland, my wife and I visited the burial site of my favorite poet, WB Yeats. The cryptic and provocative epitaph on his gravestone reads…

“Cast a cold Eye

on Life, on Death.

Horseman pass by”

Aside from these being the final words in his brilliant final poem, “Under Ben Bulben,” what was Yeats trying to convey by capturing these specific words so vividly on his marker?

I am embarrassed to admit how much time I have sent thinking about the meaning of it all… especially when taken as standalone words, absent the context of the poem.

But, in one of those musings, I came up with this short, bleak, perhaps nihilistic poem about my own sardonic thoughts on my (hopefully) future epitaph.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and reactions in the Comments section below.

-PS Conway ☘ ☘ ☘

☘ ☘ ☘ ☘ ☘

blot of ink

when i am dead, bury me in a hole

where i can rot in that cute little plot

with a nifty view of the blighted rowan

a modest headstone as my granite crown

all hail his majesty the travesty

with a blot of ink as my epitaph

let teary-eyed mourners fester over

whatever the fuck it’s all meant to mean

4 comments

  1. Having been there, the words pack a stronger punch in their setting. I can understand how they stayed with you and bubbled up into this fantastic piece of writing. Thank you for sharing it and it’s meaning. Your view points before each poem are a journey to the poem. In this instance you were left without a map and some sketchy directions (which is typical of Ireland) and expected to loop around back to where Yeats lay. It’s like Heaneys poetry, while opposite, the clear punch at the end leaves no doubt…it stays with you long after reading it. Personally I love a poetry punch that lingers.

    1. Thanks so much, Ber, for sharing your thoughts. I was so tempted in the opening comments to espouse the beauty of Ben Bulben and Drumcliffe and Sligo in general, but I didn’t want to steal from the impact of the poem. I did write another poem that posted in January named “Possessed by Yeats” if interested in continuing the journey with me. Sláinte 🖤🙏🍷🌹

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