Easter 1916, Wild Swans at Coole and Second Coming

Topics: Poetry, Easter Rising, Modernism Pages: 3 (978 words) Published: July 21, 2012
Easter 1916, Wild Swans at Coole and Second Coming

The timeless essence and the ambivalence in Yeats’ poems urge the reader’s response to relevant themes in society today. This enduring power of Yeats’ poetry, influenced by the Mystic and pagan influences is embedded within the textual integrity drawn from poetic techniques and structure when discussing relevant contextual concerns.

“Wild Swans at Coole”, “Easter 1916” and “The Second Coming” encapsulate the romanticism in his early poetry to civil influences and then a modernist approach in the later years. The three poems explore distinct transition of a poet while discussing ideas of history, love and politics.

“WC”, written in romantic style, emphasises his inner turmoil through an array of poetic techniques entrenched within a cynical yet lethargic tone. “Nine and fifty swans” exemplifies the misery of his single life by juxtaposing the strength in unity of the swans. This enduring symbol of swans in his poetry evokes empathy towards his depressed state as he continues to elevate the imagery of the swans by juxtaposing their unity “cold companionable streams” to his solitude.

The subtle metaphor to Maud Gonne’s beauty in “clamorous wings” and “brilliant creatures” accentuates a response of sympathy as romantic vibrant imagery ironically contrasts the woes of rejection. The reader’s views are best influenced through a nihilistic outlook on the poem, which questions the purpose of existence, showcasing the persona’s plight of losing zest in life. “The heart is sore” highlights his worsening mental state in questioning existence, evoking reflection from the reader on their personal troubles. It allows textual integrity in decoding themes of anguish and sadness, despite any contextual audience.

Bornstein describes the juxtaposition of the eternal symbol of the swans as ‘the Great Romantic Lyric’. He notes how personal reflections delve on the concerns of solidarity and of questioning the purpose...
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