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Yeats Poetry

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Through its portrayal of human experience, Yeats' poetry reinforces the significance of desire.

To what extent does your interpretation of Yeats' poetry support this view? (get under 1400)

It is inherent to the human condition to yearn purpose and meaning in life; by coming to terms with the structure of the transient world and the phenomenon of the human experience. Indeed, Yeats portrays these complexities of the human experience through his suit of poems, exploring significantly the desire to conquer tensions between his personal longing for permanence and the public need for change. Yeats' 1919 Wild Swans at Coole illustrates the inherent yearning for companionship and search for permanence in a transient world, these universal themes continuing to resonate with us today, as we, as humans, share the experience of a search for meaning in life. This rather personal, reflective poem stands apart from his later piece, The Second Coming, a more public expression of the uncontrollable cycles of civilisation and desire for change in order to establish order in the dysfunction of a post-war period, though mirroring Wild Swans at Coole's exploration of the self-oscillating patterns of nature and its tension with man. Ironically, his poems, servings as his reflection of his tensions between permanence and transience serve to immortalise his soul, thus achieves the very permanence he desires yet cannot physically achieve. Yeats' skilful manipulation of form and reoccurring imagery enhances the craftsmanship of his conflicting emotions into his works, his poems, not alone, but together, transcend time and reinforce these universal themes to us today in the 21st century. Ultimately, Yeats' skilful portrayal of these complexities of the human experience enables us deeper insight into the ongoing desires of humans.

The longing for affiliation and intimacy that we search for today has remained static since the 19th century, Yeats' 1919 lyric poem Wild Swans at Coole employing a reoccurring motif of swans to symbolise this desired companionship. As he walks beside the familiar lake of Coole, the poet illustrates the unswerving loyalty of swans "lover by lover", this repetition indicative of their connection, reiterated by the intimate proposition "by". An objective correlative of the swans perhaps enables the poet to identify himself with the 59th swan, allegedly the only one without a lover. This projection of human emotions onto nature suggests how the craving for companionship is merely an innate part of the natural human condition. Furthermore Yeats' abundant image of nature, employed through the onomatopoeia of "clamorous wings" and alliteration of plosive 'b' sound "bell-beat", this auditory imagery contrasting the persona's solitary state shown through the use of first person, reinforces companionship as a deterrent of being left alone. Yeats composed this piece after being rejected once again by obsession Maud Gonne, his shift to a mournful tone in the third stanza through monosyllabic emotion noun "now my heart is sore" personalises the content of the poem we can see the fear of solitude is apparent to his personal context. The manipulation of naturist imagery on the lake to "mirror a still sky", using reflection itself to indeed reflect on surroundings skilfully unites the human emotions with nature itself, thus reinforcing the intrinsic nature humanity to long for affiliation with others, this textual integrity enabling us to continue to relate with this universal theme today.

It is through his admiration of the swan's eternal ability to achieve intimacy that Yeats' explores the immortality of nature and his longing for personal permanence in an ever transient world. We can see Yeats' developing fear of the ageing human experience begin in his earlier poems, his 1892 When You are Old using a projection of the future to convey the inevitability of time and an individual's fear of looking back on life in regret. This is mirrored in Wild Swans at Coole as he outpours his yearn for permanence in fear of losing his poetic inspiration. The notion of death is constant, defused through the usual archetypes of water symbolising the passing of time but further reinforced through the langue, the only regular iambic line "since I first made my count" belonging to the past while the present uses spondees "all suddenly mount" to slow the rhythm and prevent a continuing motion, alluding to death. This idea of ageing contrasts the immortal swans, who, after "the nineteenth autumn" continue to "drift on the still water", again, we see the use of "still" to reflect the stopping of time. The reoccurring imagery of the swans may further symbolise his poetic muse which he fears has eluded him, seen through the apocopated rhyme of "awake/away" when he "[awakes] some day/ To find they have flown away". Alternatively, and to which I support, the swans dispersion is symbolic of Yeats releasing his works into the world in order to "delight other



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