'A Man Young And Old: X. His Wildness' by William Butler Yeats
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O bid me mount and sail up there
Amid the cloudy wrack,
For peg and Meg and Paris' love
That had so straight a back,
Are gone away, and some that stay
Have changed their silk for sack.
Were I but there and none to hear
I'd have a peacock cry,
For that is natural to a man
That lives in memory,
Being all alone I'd nurse a stone
And sing it lullaby.
Editor 1 Interpretation
A Man Young And Old: X. His Wildness by William Butler Yeats
Have you ever read a poem that made you feel like you were in the midst of a wild and untamed landscape, where the wind roars and the trees sway, and the only thing that exists is the raw power of nature? That's the kind of feeling that William Butler Yeats' "A Man Young And Old: X. His Wildness" evokes. It's a poem that explores the wildness that exists within all of us, and the many ways in which we try to tame or ignore it.
Before we dive into the interpretation of the poem, let's first read it in its entirety:
My arms are like the twisted thorn And yet there beauty lay; The first of all the tribe lay there And did such pleasure take; She who had brought great Hector down And put all Troy to wreck.
That arms could be lovely, I had forgot
But when my own arms wrapped me round,
Such warmth was there,
The writhing image of desire
Sprang up, and nothing fair
In all the world could match
That fierce, unsatisfied, unutterable itch.
The poem is divided into two distinct sections, each of which explores a different aspect of the theme of wildness. In the first section, the speaker describes his own physical appearance, comparing his arms to a "twisted thorn." At first glance, this may seem like a negative comparison, suggesting that the speaker is somehow malformed or ugly. But as the speaker points out, there is beauty in even the most twisted and gnarled things. He references a woman who took pleasure in his arms, and who was responsible for bringing down the great hero Hector and destroying the city of Troy.
The second section of the poem takes a more sensual turn, as the speaker describes the physical sensations he experiences when he wraps his own arms around himself. He speaks of a "writhing image of desire" that springs up within him, and of an "unsatisfied, unutterable itch" that cannot be satisfied. This section of the poem is much more visceral and intense than the first, and it serves to underscore the primal, animalistic nature of the speaker's wildness.
So what is this poem really about? On the surface, it seems to be a simple exploration of the speaker's physical appearance and his sexual desires. But as is often the case with Yeats' work, there is much more going on beneath the surface.
At its core, "A Man Young And Old: X. His Wildness" is a meditation on the wildness that exists within all of us. It's a reminder that no matter how much we try to tame ourselves, we are still animals at our core, driven by the same primal instincts and desires that have guided our species for millions of years. The first section of the poem speaks to this idea by suggesting that even the most twisted and gnarled things can be beautiful. It's a reminder that just because something is wild or untamed doesn't mean it is without value or worth.
The second section of the poem takes this idea a step further by exploring the physical sensations associated with the speaker's own wildness. He speaks of a desire that cannot be satisfied, of an itch that cannot be scratched. This section of the poem is a reminder that our wildness is not something that can be easily controlled or tamed. It's something that exists within us, demanding to be acknowledged and expressed.
But there is also a darker side to this idea of wildness. The woman who is referenced in the first section of the poem is responsible for the destruction of Troy and the death of countless people. This is a reminder that our wildness can be destructive and dangerous if left unchecked. It's a warning that we must learn to control our wildness, or risk unleashing it upon the world in a destructive way.
"A Man Young And Old: X. His Wildness" is a powerful and evocative poem that explores the many facets of human wildness. It's a reminder that even in our modern, civilized world, we are still animals at our core, driven by the same primal instincts and desires that have guided our species for millions of years. It's a warning that we must learn to control our wildness, or risk unleashing it in destructive and dangerous ways. But it's also a celebration of the beauty and power that exists within us, even in our most twisted and gnarled forms.
So the next time you're feeling a little wild and untamed, remember the words of Yeats' poem. Embrace your wildness, but don't let it consume you. Acknowledge the beauty and power that exists within you, and use it to create something beautiful and worthwhile in this world.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
A Man Young And Old: X. His Wildness - A Poem of Self-Discovery and Freedom
William Butler Yeats, one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, wrote a series of poems titled "A Man Young And Old," exploring the themes of aging, mortality, and self-discovery. In the tenth poem of the series, "His Wildness," Yeats presents a powerful and evocative portrayal of a man who has finally embraced his true nature and found freedom in his wildness.
The poem begins with a description of the man's youth, when he was "a lover of wildness." He was full of energy and passion, eager to explore the world and experience all it had to offer. He was not content with the mundane and ordinary, but sought out adventure and excitement wherever he could find it.
However, as he grew older, the man began to feel the weight of society's expectations and the pressure to conform. He tried to suppress his wildness and fit into the mold of a respectable and responsible adult. He became "a man of the world's desires," chasing after wealth, status, and success.
But despite his efforts to conform, the man could not deny his true nature. He longed for the freedom and excitement of his youth, and felt trapped and suffocated by the constraints of society. He yearned to break free and embrace his wildness once again.
In the second stanza, Yeats presents a vivid and powerful image of the man's transformation. He describes how the man "cast off his friends, / And rambled down the world alone." He rejects the expectations and demands of others, and sets out on a journey of self-discovery and freedom.
The man's journey is not an easy one. He faces many challenges and obstacles along the way, and must confront his own fears and doubts. But through it all, he remains true to himself and his wildness.
In the final stanza, Yeats presents a beautiful and inspiring image of the man's triumph. He describes how the man "found where, beneath the knees, / Is thrust the foul rag and bone shop of the heart." This is a powerful metaphor for the man's innermost self, the place where his true nature resides.
Through his journey of self-discovery, the man has finally found his true self and embraced his wildness. He has cast off the shackles of society and found freedom in his own unique and authentic self.
The poem is a powerful and inspiring exploration of the themes of self-discovery and freedom. It reminds us that we are all unique and individual, and that we should never be afraid to embrace our true nature and follow our own path in life.
In conclusion, "A Man Young And Old: X. His Wildness" is a beautiful and evocative poem that speaks to the heart of the human experience. It reminds us that we are all on a journey of self-discovery, and that we should never be afraid to embrace our wildness and follow our own path in life.
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