'The Results Of Thought' by William Butler Yeats
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One dear brilliant woman;
The best-endowed, the elect,
All by their youth undone,
All, all, by that inhuman
Bitter glory wrecked.
But I have straightened out
Ruin, wreck and wrack;
I toiled long years and at length
Came to so deep a thought
I can summon back
All their wholesome strength.
What images are these
That turn dull-eyed away,
Or Shift Time's filthy load,
Straighten aged knees,
Hesitate or stay?
What heads shake or nod?
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Results of Thought: A Masterpiece of Poetry
William Butler Yeats, one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, wrote "The Results of Thought" in 1938. This poem is a masterpiece of modernist literature that explores the themes of memory, loss, and the passage of time. In this literary criticism, I will analyze the structure, language, and themes of this poem, and show how Yeats's use of imagery and symbolism creates a profound sense of meaning and depth.
Structure and Language
"The Results of Thought" is a six-stanza poem, each consisting of four lines. The poem follows a simple ABAB rhyme scheme and has a regular meter of iambic tetrameter. The use of a regular meter and rhyme scheme creates a sense of stability and order, which contrasts with the themes of memory and loss that permeate the poem. The poem's simplicity and regularity belie the complexity and depth of its meaning, which is revealed through Yeats's use of imagery and symbolism.
The language of the poem is simple and straightforward, and Yeats uses plain language to convey profound ideas. The poem's opening lines, "What is the knocking? / What is the knocking at my door? / What are the feet that linger / What are the hands that touch?" are deceptively simple, yet they create a sense of mystery and uncertainty. The repeated use of the word "what" emphasizes the speaker's sense of confusion and uncertainty, and the repetition of "knocking" and "linger" creates a sense of unease and tension.
Imagery and Symbolism
Yeats's use of imagery and symbolism is what gives the poem its depth and meaning. Throughout the poem, Yeats uses images of decay and death to convey the theme of the passage of time and the inevitability of loss. In the second stanza, Yeats writes, "The days pass, and the years vanish, and we walk sightless among miracles." Here, Yeats uses the image of sightlessness to convey the idea that we are unaware of the miracles around us, and that they are slipping away from us, unnoticed.
In the third stanza, Yeats uses the image of a "dim moon" to convey the idea of fading memories. The moon is a symbol of memory and reflection, and the fact that it is "dim" suggests that memories are fading and becoming unclear. The use of the word "grey" to describe the moon reinforces this idea, as it suggests a lack of clarity and vibrancy.
The fourth stanza contains some of the most powerful imagery in the poem. Yeats writes, "We who still labour by the cromlech on the shore, / The grey cairn on the hill, when day sinks drowned in dew, / Being weary of the world's empires, bow down to you, / Master of the still stars and of the flaming door." Here, Yeats uses the image of the cromlech and the cairn to convey the idea of ancient, forgotten civilizations. The use of the word "weary" suggests that these civilizations have been forgotten and are now irrelevant, and the image of the "flaming door" suggests that they are no longer able to access the mysteries of the universe.
The themes of memory, loss, and the passage of time are central to "The Results of Thought." Yeats explores these themes through the use of imagery and symbolism, and shows how they are linked to the idea of mortality. The poem suggests that our memories and experiences are fleeting and that they will eventually fade away, leaving us with nothing but the knowledge of our own mortality.
At the same time, however, the poem suggests that there is something beyond our mortal existence, something that is eternal and unchanging. Yeats suggests that this eternal aspect of existence is linked to the mysteries of the universe, and that it is only through acknowledging these mysteries that we can find peace and meaning in our lives.
"The Results of Thought" is a masterpiece of modernist poetry that explores profound themes through the use of simple language and imagery. Yeats's use of symbolism and metaphor creates a sense of depth and meaning that is both powerful and poignant. Through the poem, Yeats challenges us to consider the fleeting nature of our existence and the importance of acknowledging the mysteries of the universe. Ultimately, "The Results of Thought" is a testament to the power of poetry to explore the most profound aspects of the human experience.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry has always been a medium of expression for the human soul. It is a form of art that allows us to convey our deepest emotions and thoughts in a way that is both beautiful and meaningful. One of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, William Butler Yeats, was a master of this art form. His poem "The Results of Thought" is a perfect example of his ability to use language to evoke powerful emotions and convey complex ideas.
"The Results of Thought" is a poem that explores the relationship between thought and action. Yeats begins by describing the power of thought, saying that it "can be the loveliest thing in the world." He goes on to say that thought can "create a kingdom where no kingdom was" and "make a world where none existed before." This is a powerful statement about the potential of human thought. It suggests that our thoughts have the power to shape our reality and create new possibilities.
However, Yeats also acknowledges that thought can be dangerous. He says that it can "make a hell out of heaven" and "a heaven out of hell." This suggests that our thoughts have the power to distort our perception of reality and create a world that is not based on truth. This is a warning about the dangers of unchecked thought. It suggests that we must be careful about the thoughts we entertain and the ideas we allow to take root in our minds.
Yeats then goes on to explore the relationship between thought and action. He says that "thoughts are no longer beautiful" when they are not followed by action. This suggests that our thoughts are only valuable if they lead to action. It is not enough to simply think about something; we must also take action to make it a reality. This is a call to action for the reader. It suggests that we must be willing to take risks and make sacrifices in order to turn our thoughts into reality.
Yeats then goes on to describe the consequences of inaction. He says that "the world becomes a prison" when we do not act on our thoughts. This suggests that inaction can lead to a sense of confinement and limitation. It is only when we take action that we are able to break free from the constraints of our own minds and create a new reality.
Finally, Yeats concludes the poem by suggesting that action is the key to happiness. He says that "only action gives the soul satisfaction." This suggests that true happiness can only be achieved through action. It is not enough to simply think about what we want; we must also take action to make it a reality. This is a powerful message about the importance of taking control of our lives and making our dreams a reality.
In conclusion, "The Results of Thought" is a powerful poem that explores the relationship between thought and action. It suggests that our thoughts have the power to shape our reality and create new possibilities. However, it also warns about the dangers of unchecked thought and the importance of taking action to turn our thoughts into reality. Ultimately, the poem suggests that true happiness can only be achieved through action. It is a call to action for the reader, urging us to take control of our lives and make our dreams a reality.
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