Yeats: Easter Rising and Ideal World

1500 words 6 pages
‘Yeats’s poetry is driven by a tension between the real world in which he lives and an ideal world that he imagines’

The poetry of Yeats gives a deep, profound and though-provoking experience. His sweepingly broad thematic focus deals with issues that are timeless and universal. We realise Yeats both is a very public and a very private poet, his work ranging from the personal and political, to Irish history and his own life experiences and emotions. He grew up in a very transitional time, where a world war and a civil war were both fought. This he captured in words such as ‘September 1913’, ‘Easter 1916’ and ‘The Stares Nest by my Window’. Later in life his preoccupation shifted and his work dealt with his obsession with
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He condemned the modern people who were too self-obsessed in today, without sparing a thought for tomorrow it was all about the here and now, the ‘sensual music’. The natural world was alive and flourishing ‘the salmon falls, the mackerel crowded seas’. Living for the now, reproducing ‘fish, flesh or fowl’ they commended the flesh. No one spared a thought for what was to come after. The sound of the bird is a mocking jibe to the old man whose physically waning body can no longer keep up.

Yeats despised his ageing self, his inability to perform as he once did. He desperately seeks to immortalise himself in some form, to out live the body. His reference to the human being as a ‘paltry thing’ becomes more degrading and insulting, to a ‘tattered coat upon a stick’ to finally a ‘dying animal’. He has no longer any time for nature.

It’s then that Yeats discovers a way to preserve himself – in the form of art. Its timeless quality greatly appeals to him and he feels ‘there is no singing school to study monuments of its own magnificence’. He feels he has found a way at last to remain, even if his bodily form is gone. He will capture himself in a world of art ‘not out of nature, but such as the Greeks make with godl hammering and enamelling’. The golden bird acts as the antithesis to the ‘dying animal’.

This idea really impressed upon me the importance and


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