kiltartan cross

8

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

W. B. Yeats, 1865 - 1939

I know that I shall meet my fate   
Somewhere among the clouds above;   
Those that I fight I do not hate   
Those that I guard I do not love;   
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,   
No likely end could bring them loss   
Or leave them happier than before.   
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,   
Nor public man, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight   
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;   
I balanced all, brought all to mind,   
The years to come seemed waste of breath,   
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.

I know that I shall meet my fate,

Somewhere among the clouds above;

Those that I fight I do not hate,

Those that I guard I do not love;

My country is Kiltartan Cross,

My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,

No likely end could bring them loss

Or leave them happier than before.

Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,

Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,

A lonely impulse of delight

Drove to this tumult in the clouds;

I balanced all, brought all to mind,

The years to come seemed waste of breath,

A waste of breath the years behind

In balance with this life, this death.

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death
— W. B. Yeats

I’m not a fan of poetry but you know what’s interesting about Simon and his father, Iain? We know nothing about their relationship before Simon’s death. We know nothing about them and all we see is Iain rejecting his son after he killed his mother in his rabid state.

Yet, there’s something they share, something Simon seems to hold dear: Yeats. He would have chosen a quote from Yeats as epitaph, which means a lot.

But what about his father? Look at this scene.

He’s reading a book, “W B Yeats Selected Poetry”. And what he’s reading is not a random Yeats poem, no. The one he’s reading is called Reconciliation. (Oh sweet irony.)

Some may have blamed you that you took away

The verses that could move them on the day

When, the ears being deafened, the sight of the eyes blind

With lightning, you went from me, and I could find

Nothing to make a song about but kings,

Helmets, and swords, and half-forgotten things

That were like memories of you—but now

We’ll out, for the world lives as long ago;

And while we’re in our laughing, weeping fit,

Hurl helmets, crowns, and swords into the pit.

But, dear, cling close to me; since you were gone,

My barren thoughts have chilled me to the bone.

We can hear him mumbling this part “since you were gone, My barren thoughts”. And all we can think is that he’s reading this thinking of his wife.

I really like Simon, and all those details are really heartbreaking. When he comes home, you can see how small he is, the child he was when he left home (because being 21 is very young in a whole life), how his parents must have been worried and happy at the same time to see their depressed child moved by dreams and hopes. And then death wiped everything. Twice. First Simon, then his mother, by the hand of Simon himself.
I didn’t really know Emmett Scanlan before watching In the Flesh but when I see how he managed to play this scene, how he managed to be a child in front of his father in spite of the fact that he’s more imposing than him… Compare the Simon from this moment and the Simon running in the graveyard because “reflex” (even Steve doesn’t buy it :D)…

This serie will be the end of me.