Monday, August 27, 2012

Essay on William Butler Yeats Poetry

Essay on William Butler Yeats Poetry

William Buttler Yeats is one of the most outstanding poets of his epoch. His works are well-known worldwide and nowadays they still remain very popular. To a significant extent, the popularity of his works is determined by the importance of themes the poet raised in his poems. At the same time, one of the remarkable features of his works, the author’s peculiarity, was the attempt of W.B. Yeats to find the balance, a kind of harmony to make the world and humans live in a better, balanced world. In fact, the acts of balance may be traced in a variety of his works.

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At the same time, it is necessary to understand what Yeats actually implies by the act of balancing. On analyzing his poem “The Irish airman forsees his death”, the poet attempts to balance the act of living itself. To put it more precisely, his famous words “with balance with this life, this death” (Yeats) perfectly illustrate that the author implies the existence of certain balance between the life of an individual, his acts and deeds and his death, which may be viewed as a kind of reward or outcome of the entire life. On the other hand, this poem also reveals the poet’s unwillingness to focus on the past or future life, instead he focuses on the present moment. In this respect, it should be said that some specialists (Norman, 537) argue that Yeats attempts to say that it is a waste of time and energy to live in the past, as well as to live always for what might be.

In fact, balancing acts may be traced in other poems by Yeats. For instance, it is possible to refer to his lyric poetry, among which it is possible to single out the poem “He bids his beloved be at peace”. Basically, this poem is focused on the sentiments and emotions of a man who is actually losing his beloved and he wants to balance his life with hers, to deceive the death and unite his soul with that of his beloved. The general mood of the poem is rather dull and a bit depressing. The poet successfully creates the impression of the upcoming disaster:

The Horses of Disaster plunge in the heavy clay
(Yeats, He bids his beloved be at peace)

In fact, the narrator is conscious of the fact that he is losing his beloved and the poet vividly depicts the pass away of this woman:

The North unfolds above them, clinging, creeping night,
The East her hidden joy before the morning break,
The West weeps in a pale dew and sighs passing away…
(Yeats, He bids his beloved be at peace)

Nevertheless, the author manages to create a new strong feeling of the balance when the narrator appeals to his beloved:

Beloved, let your eyes half close, and your heart beat
Over my heart, and your hair fall over my breast
(Yeats, He bids his beloved be at peace)

In such a way, the narrator is ready to join his beloved and, in this act of unification, he hopes to balance his own life and the life of his beloved since, as he believes, this will bring the desirable peace and rest to his beloved:

Drowning love’s lonely hour in deep twilight of rest
(Yeats, He bids his beloved be at peace)

In fact, this means that it is only when the beloved shares her sufferings with his beloved, probably in the last moment of her life, she will find the rest. At the same time, it is necessary to underline that such a devotedness and readiness of the narrator to join his beloved creates the balance which is essential for the calmness and peace of his beloved. Consequently, through the act of balancing of two loving hearts, two loving souls, the author shows the way to the peace and rest that both of them will find, the way to balance.

Another poem “Peace” also refers to the theme of balance. In this poem, W.B. Yeats speaks about the overwhelming power of time and peace it brings. In fact, time and peace bring the balance in human life and destroying practically all contradictions, problems, and obstacles on the way to harmony. At the same time, such a harmony or balance is, as a rule, brought late in human life along with the death which time makes gradually closer to every human being. Nevertheless, such a balance may be really striking to the turbulent and contradictive nature of the character Yeats depicts in his poem:

“Were not all her life but storm,
Would not painters paint a form
Of such noble lines,”
I said, Such a delicate high head,
All that sternness amid charm,
All that sweetness among strength?” (Yeats, Peace)

Obviously, the main character finds certain internal balance somehow since her sternness does not prevent her from being charming, while her sweetness is accompanied by strength, which is often viewed as the opposite of sweetness traditionally associated with weakness and spiritual softness. Finally, the poet concludes that

Ah, but peace that comes at length,
Came when
Time had touched her form
(Yeats, Peace).

In such a way, the peace brought by “Time” is viewed as the result, the end point of human life and it is important that there was a balance when even such contradictory characteristics as the poet depicts in his poem are combined.

Basically, it is possible to estimate that W.B. Yeats views the entire human life as a search of the balance which ultimate goal is the rest, or peace, people find at the end of the earthly life. To put it more precisely, the poet basically admits that it is hardly possible to find an ideal balance during the lifetime of an individual, but at the same time, he argues that extremity when there is no balance in the internal world of an individual or when the relationship of a couple or people at large are misbalanced, it does not contribute to a happy life but, instead, it may cause additional sufferings and create serious obstacles on the way to the personal happiness. Instead, the poet underlines in many of his poems, including the two discussed above, that the human life would be much better if there was some balance and people should strive for the balance in their life and relationships in order to live in harmony. He insists that only balance will make them really united as beloved in his poem “He bid his beloved be at peace”, and, what is more, it is the balance that makes the opposite qualities such as sweetness and strength, sternness and charm be combined in one personality, making it almost perfect.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that W.B. Yeats paid a lot of attention to the problem of balance since he viewed balance acts as an essential part of human life. He agreed that often human life is very contradictive and it is difficult to find the balance that brings peace to human soul, but, nevertheless it is necessary to make efforts to find the balance. Otherwise, human life would be much more complicated without harmony and happiness that the balance brings.
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