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William Butler Yeats' Poetry

6 Pages 1614 Words

Throughout the years 1890-1914, William Butler Yeats focused his poetry on certain situations that were happening in his life. The 3 poems that I will focus on are “Crossways”, “The Wind Among The Reeds” and “Responsibilities”. What messages was Yeats sending out in each poem? What was going on during his time? And what did Yeats hope to accomplish as a poet?
In his poem, “Crossways”, there was a sense of something sad, but it also had a dreamy, soft feel to it. This type of mood is certainly shown in the “Sad Shepard”. “ And he call loudly to the stars to bend, from their pale thrones and comfort him, but they among themselves laugh on and sing alway” (p9, 5-7). Here it seems as if the Shepard is looking for some comfort from the skies and nature. But instead of the skies and stars comforting him, the Shepard is being ignored. Therefore, no comfort is gained. “Sought once again the shore and found a shell, and though, I will my heavy story tell, till my own words, re-echoing shall send”(p9, 18-20). In this statement, he finds a shell and speaks into it. In response the shell doesn’t spit back or speak words of guile or comfort. “Among her wildering whirls, forgetting him”(p9, 27-28). A shell comes from nature as well, and it’s also ignoring his call for comfort too. In “ The song of the happy Shepard”, there is a small sense of comfort shown by the shell.
The song of the happy Shepard is hinting that there are certain changes taking place in society. In this following statement, “yet still she turns her restless head: But O’sick children of the world, of all the many changing things” (p7, 5-6). Again there is a sense of loss in society; things are changing, what are the changes? “Where are now the warring kings, word be-mockers? -By the road, where are now the warring kings” (p7, 11-13). In these particular lines, it seems as if Yeats is speaking of the ancient times, when the wor...

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