On deep sworn vows, and time

Others because you did not keep
That deep-sworn vow have been friends of mine;
Yet always when I look death in the face,
When I clamber to the heights of sleep,
Or when I grow excited with wine,
Suddenly I meet your face.

When I first read W.B Yeats' poem A Deep-sworn Vow back in my late teens, I loved it straightaway -- and re-read it so often that it became committed to my memory.

Back then, I was probably most attracted to the author's solid position in the glamorous state of unrequited love. He is clearly still pining for this person, but he's sticking to his principles and cutting off contact after having been wronged in some way.

But reading the poem today -- at an age that's a few years past those fervent dig-in-your-heels beliefs often held in the heat of youth -- all I can think is that I hope Yeats eventually did reconnect with the subject of A Deep-sworn Vow. The people who affect you that deeply, those who occur to you in vino and in dreams, are often the ones worth forgiving (or at least being on speaking terms with) in this short life.

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