The Fool by the Roadside

The Fool by the Roadside (Second part of: The Hero the Girl and the Fool)

WHEN all works that have
From cradle run to grave
From grave to cradle run instead;
When thoughts that a fool
Has wound upon a spool
Are but loose thread, are but loose thread;
When cradle and spool are past
And I mere shade at last
Coagulate of stuff
Transparent like the wind,
I think that I may find
A faithful love, a faithful love.




This is yet another poem about aging. The AABCCB rhyme scheme conveys a moderate degree of childishness, but the six lines per stanza (rather than eight) make it slightly irregular, recalling the speaker’s identification with the fool who thinks that life can be spooled backwards as well as forwards. The speaker’s lack of balance also calls into question the idea that he might actually find true love, thereby contradicting the sentiment found in many of the other poems in the work.

A Closer Look:

In The Tower, as the volume is presented in Collected Poems (1933), Fragments (1931), is added, and The Hero, the Girl and the Fool is replaced by The Fool by the Roadside.

Appears in the first edition of A Vision in 1925 on page 219

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