Text of the Poem

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.


  1. This is only one of a couple of metaphors used in this poem. The inability to speak about death suggests the speaker is more anxious about death than he wants readers to believe.

    — Allegra Keys, Owl Eyes Editor
  2. There’s no noble reason for the speaker going to war; he enjoys flying and he enjoys fighting.

    — Allegra Keys, Owl Eyes Editor
  3. The speaker is completely apathetic to the war he is fighting in, which is WWI.

    — Allegra Keys, Owl Eyes Editor
  4. The meter of this poem is iambic tetrameter and follows an ABAB form.

    — Allegra Keys, Owl Eyes Editor