'Ephemera' by William Butler Yeats
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"YOUR eyes that once were never weary of mine
Are bowed in sotrow under pendulous lids,
Because our love is waning."
And then She:
"Although our love is waning, let us stand
By the lone border of the lake once more,
Together in that hour of gentleness
When the poor tired child, passion, falls asleep.
How far away the stars seem, and how far
Is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart!"
Pensive they paced along the faded leaves,
While slowly he whose hand held hers replied:
"Passion has often worn our wandering hearts."
The woods were round them, and the yellow leaves
Fell like faint meteors in the gloom, and once
A rabbit old and lame limped down the path;
Autumn was over him:and now they stood
On the lone border of the lake once more:
Turning, he saw that she had thrust dead leaves
Gathered in silence, dewy as her eyes,
In bosom and hair.
"Ah, do not mourn," he said,
"That we are tired, for other loves await us;
Hate on and love through unrepining hours.
Before us lies eternity; our souls
Are love, and a continual farewell."
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Ephemeral Beauty of Yeats' Poetry
William Butler Yeats is one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, known for his use of imagery, symbolism and mythological themes. His poem "Ephemera" is a beautiful example of his poetic prowess, which captures the transient nature of life and the beauty of fleeting moments.
The poem "Ephemera" consists of twelve lines, with a rhyme scheme of ABAB. The first three lines paint a vivid picture of a "rose-red" sunset, "faintly tinged with yellow," which creates an image of warmth and beauty. The next three lines describe the "whispering air" that carries the scent of the flowers and the sound of the river flowing nearby. The final six lines introduce the theme of transience and ephemeral beauty, with Yeats comparing the short-lived beauty of the sunset to the briefness of human life.
Yeats' use of imagery is striking in this poem. The image of the "rose-red" sunset provides a strong visual of the beauty of the moment, while the "whispering air" and the sound of the river evoke a sense of calmness and stillness. The use of color is also significant, with the "rose-red" and "yellow" tones creating a feeling of warmth and comfort.
The poem's theme of transience is evident in Yeats' comparison of the sunset to human life, with both being fleeting and short-lived. The use of the word "ephemera" in the title reinforces this theme, as it refers to something that is short-lived or fleeting. The poem's final lines, "Ah, dream too bright to last!/Ah, starry Hope! that didst arise/But to be overcast!/A voice from yonder sky/Shall bid thee soon farewell," offer a poignant reminder that all that is beautiful and hopeful in life is temporary.
In addition to Yeats' use of imagery and symbolism, the poem also employs several poetic devices. The repetition of the phrase "Ah" at the beginning of lines 7-9 creates a sense of lamentation, emphasizing the theme of transience and the sadness that comes with fleeting beauty. The use of alliteration in the phrase "starry Hope" also draws attention to the theme of hopefulness and the fleeting nature of such feelings.
The poem's rhyme scheme is also significant, with the ABAB pattern providing a sense of structure and balance to the poem. The use of enjambment, where a sentence or phrase runs over into the next line, also creates a sense of flow and continuity throughout the poem.
Yeats' poem "Ephemera" can be interpreted in several ways, depending on the reader's perspective. One interpretation is that the poem is a meditation on the transience of all things in life, and the beauty that can be found in fleeting moments. The sunset and the scent of the flowers are examples of such beauty, and their brevity makes them all the more precious.
Another interpretation is that the poem is a reflection on the human condition, and the inevitability of death. The sunset can be seen as a metaphor for life, with both being short-lived and ultimately fading away. The poem's final lines can be seen as a reminder that all of our hopes and dreams, no matter how bright they may seem, will eventually come to an end.
William Butler Yeats' poem "Ephemera" is a beautiful meditation on the transience of life and the fleeting beauty of the world around us. Through his use of vivid imagery, symbolism, and poetic devices, Yeats captures the essence of a moment and reminds us of the preciousness of every passing moment. The poem's theme of transience is a reminder that all things must come to an end, but it is also a reminder to cherish the beauty of life while we can.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry Ephemera: A Masterpiece by William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats, the renowned Irish poet, playwright, and politician, is widely regarded as one of the greatest literary figures of the 20th century. His works are known for their profound philosophical insights, rich symbolism, and lyrical beauty. Among his many masterpieces, Poetry Ephemera stands out as a remarkable example of his poetic genius. In this essay, we will explore the themes, symbols, and literary techniques used in this poem and analyze its significance in the context of Yeats' oeuvre.
Poetry Ephemera is a short poem consisting of only six lines, yet it packs a powerful punch. The poem begins with the line, "I made my song a coat," which immediately sets the tone for the rest of the poem. The metaphor of a song as a coat suggests that poetry is a form of protection, a shield against the harsh realities of life. The poet is saying that he has created something that will keep him warm and safe, something that will shield him from the cold winds of the world.
The second line, "Covered with embroideries," adds another layer of meaning to the metaphor. The embroideries suggest that the poet has embellished his poetry with intricate details, making it more beautiful and valuable. The word "covered" also implies that the poet has hidden something beneath the surface of his poetry, something that is not immediately visible.
The third line, "Out of fashion when you're old," introduces the theme of transience and impermanence. The poet is acknowledging that his poetry, like all things, will eventually become outdated and irrelevant. The phrase "when you're old" suggests that the poet is speaking from a perspective of maturity and wisdom, looking back on his life and realizing the fleeting nature of all things.
The fourth line, "I made it of wild tears," is perhaps the most powerful line in the poem. The phrase "wild tears" suggests that the poet has poured his heart and soul into his poetry, that he has bared his deepest emotions and vulnerabilities. The word "wild" also implies that the poet's tears are untamed and uncontrollable, suggesting a sense of rawness and authenticity.
The fifth line, "That she might love me," introduces the theme of love and desire. The poet is saying that he has created his poetry in the hopes of winning the love of someone special. The use of the pronoun "she" suggests that the poet is addressing a specific person, perhaps a lover or muse.
The final line, "The heart of what I say," brings the poem full circle, returning to the metaphor of poetry as a coat. The phrase "the heart of what I say" suggests that the poet has imbued his poetry with a deep sense of meaning and emotion, that he has created something that is not just beautiful but also profound. The word "heart" also implies that the poet has put his own heart into his poetry, that he has created something that is deeply personal and meaningful to him.
In terms of literary techniques, Poetry Ephemera is a masterclass in the use of metaphor and symbolism. The metaphor of a song as a coat is a powerful image that runs throughout the poem, providing a unifying thread that ties the different lines together. The use of embroideries, tears, and love further enriches the metaphor, adding layers of meaning and complexity.
The poem also makes use of repetition and parallelism to create a sense of rhythm and balance. The repetition of the phrase "I made" in the first and third lines creates a sense of symmetry, while the parallel structure of the second and fourth lines ("covered with embroideries" and "I made it of wild tears") creates a sense of harmony and balance.
In terms of themes, Poetry Ephemera touches on a number of universal human experiences, including the desire for love and connection, the fear of impermanence and mortality, and the power of art to provide solace and meaning in a chaotic world. The poem is a testament to the enduring power of poetry to capture the essence of the human experience and to provide a sense of comfort and understanding in the face of life's challenges.
In conclusion, Poetry Ephemera is a masterpiece of modern poetry, a testament to the enduring power of William Butler Yeats' poetic genius. Through its use of metaphor, symbolism, repetition, and parallelism, the poem captures the essence of the human experience, touching on themes of love, impermanence, and the power of art to provide solace and meaning. It is a poem that speaks to the heart of what it means to be human, and it is a testament to the enduring power of poetry to capture the essence of our lives and our world.
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