An Irish Airman Foresees his Death by W B Yeats is a moving poem about the pointlessness of war.
Ireland’s 100 favourite poems
W B Yeats
Yeats mentions how countries go to war and send their men to die, without ever improving the lives of the people in the country.
An Irish Airman Foresees his 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.