Three Hermits

Nels Andrews
Words by WB Yeats


I was on my way back to Brooklyn from a wake in Manhattan,late one night being a little syrupy with my reflexes, i tripped on a stack of books someone had left out on the street, I fumbled down and picked up a book of poems by yeats, and opened to this page, a really lyrical meditation on life. It haunted me for weeks until a melody kinda came all at once.


three old hermits took the air
by a cold and desolate sea
the first was muttering a prayer
the second rummaged for a flea;
on a windy stone, the third,
giddy with his hundredth year,
sang unnoticed like a bird

la la la la la la

“Though the door of death is near
and what waits behind the door,
three times in a single day
I slept upright on the shore”
so the first but now the second,
“We’re given but what we’ve earned
so it’s plain to be discerned”

la la la la la la

“That the shades of holy men
who have failed being weak of will,
pass the door of birth again
and are plagued by crowds until
they have the passion to escape.”
moaned the other, “they are thrown
into some most fearful shape.”
but the second mocked his moan:
“They are not chained to anything
having loved God once, but maybe,
to a poet or a king
or some witty lovely lady.”

he caught and cracked his flea, the third,
giddy with his hundredth bird,
sang unnoticed like a bird

la la la la la la

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