In Memory of Wb Yeats in Comparison to Other Auden Poems

Topics: W. H. Auden, Poetry, Modernism Pages: 3 (912 words) Published: February 4, 2013
In Memory of WB Yeats, discussing how far you find it characteristic of other WH Auden’s poems you have studied W.H Auden’s “In Memory of W.B Yeats” is an elegy to commemorate the life and death of a great poet, W.B Yeats. However, Auden adds another dimension to the poem by incorporating political references significant during the age of oppression and turmoil of the impending war and the extent of effectiveness of poetry at any point in time. In this poem, he utilizes techniques and themes commonly found in his other poems. Firstly, the theme of death existent in the elegy is represented in two ways, a literal description of the day Yeats had passed and a sense of impending doom strung throughout the elegy. It is drawn from imageries and symbolism such as using a city at war as a metaphor for Yeats’ dysfunctional body, “provinces of his body revolted, the squares of his mind were empty”. This can also evoke a parallel image of the disruption of Europe present at that time, which resonates with the fear of people in that era. Another example of a negative reflection of Europe plunging into World War 2 is found in lines 46 to 49, “In the nightmare of the dark, All the dogs of Europe bark, And the living nations wait, Each sequestered in its hate”. This impression of looming death is similarly found in his other poems such as “Look Stranger, On This Island Now” which indicates a warning of oncoming troubles when “far off like floating seeds the ship diverge on urgent voluntary errands” and “ Now the leaves are falling fast”. These two poems therefore foreshadow the outcome of war found in “Refugee Blues” where “a million souls” are struggling seek sanctuary and have nowhere to hide. Furthermore, in the elegiac poem, Auden discusses another theme of isolation. While he acknowledges the death of an important poet in the passing of Yeats, he brings the reader back into reality by reflecting on how only a few thousands will remember this day as slightly unusual. His...
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