'An Appointment' by William Butler Yeats
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BEING out of heart with government
I took a broken root to fling
Where the proud, wayward squirrel went,
Taking delight that he could spring;
And he, with that low whinnying sound
That is like laughter, sprang again
And so to the other tree at a bound.
Nor the tame will, nor timid brain,
Nor heavy knitting of the brow
Bred that fierce tooth and cleanly limb
And threw him up to laugh on the bough;
No govermnent appointed him.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Poetry, An Appointment by William Butler Yeats: A Detailed Literary Criticism and Interpretation
Have you ever read a poem that not only captures your attention but also touches your soul? That's how I felt when I first read "Poetry, An Appointment" by William Butler Yeats. This poem is one of Yeats' most celebrated works and has been subject to numerous literary criticisms and interpretations. In this essay, I will provide my own interpretation of this poem and explore the literary techniques that Yeats used to convey his message.
The Poem's Structure and Form
"Poetry, An Appointment" is a short poem consisting of only two stanzas. The first stanza is composed of four lines, while the second stanza has six. The poem follows a strict rhyme scheme, with the first stanza having an ABAB rhyme scheme, and the second stanza following an ABABCC rhyme scheme.
Yeats also used a lot of alliteration and assonance in this poem. For example, in the first line of the first stanza, Yeats wrote, "I have met them at close of day." The repetition of the "m" sound in "met" and "close" creates a musical effect that draws the reader into the poem.
Furthermore, the poem's form is simple yet powerful. The short lines and strict rhyme scheme add to the poem's overall musicality, while the repetition of certain phrases gives the poem a sense of unity and structure.
The Poem's Themes and Interpretation
On the surface, "Poetry, An Appointment" seems to be a poem about the importance of poetry in our lives. However, I believe that this poem is more complex than that. To me, this poem is about the struggle to find meaning in life and the power of art to provide that meaning.
The first stanza of the poem sets the scene. Yeats writes that he has "met them at close of day," the "them" referring to the "people who so seldom succeed." This line suggests that these people are tired and defeated, having failed at something in their lives. Yeats goes on to write that he "nodded and said 'Ah, you / Purchase beauty with the soul's unrest.'" This line suggests that these people turn to poetry to find meaning in their lives. They are willing to endure the "soul's unrest" in order to gain access to the beauty that poetry provides.
The second stanza of the poem is where the real power of the poem lies. Yeats writes that he "said, 'You have the heavens' leanness now, / The lure of the mapping-out of love, / And nothing to stand on but the crust of earth.'" This line suggests that those who turn to poetry are seeking something greater than themselves. They are seeking the heavens, the divine, something beyond the mundane world of everyday life. However, Yeats goes on to write that "you now have nothing to stand on but the crust of earth." This line suggests that despite our desire for the divine, we are still bound to this earthly realm. We cannot escape the limitations of our physical bodies and our mortality.
The poem's final line is perhaps its most powerful: "Get that into your head." This line is a command, a call to action. Yeats is telling us that we must accept our mortality and find meaning in our lives despite it. We must find joy in the beauty of poetry and art, even though it cannot provide us with a way to escape death.
The Poem's Literary Techniques
Yeats used several literary techniques in "Poetry, An Appointment" to convey his message. One of the most notable techniques he used was repetition. Throughout the poem, Yeats repeats certain phrases and words to create a sense of unity and structure. For example, he repeats the phrase "I have met them" twice in the first stanza, and he repeats the word "now" twice in the second stanza. This repetition creates a sense of musicality in the poem, drawing the reader further into the poem's world.
Another technique that Yeats used in this poem was symbolism. Throughout the poem, he uses symbols to represent larger concepts. For example, in the second stanza, Yeats writes about the "heavens' leanness" and the "crust of earth." These symbols represent the divide between the divine and the earthly, between our desires and our limitations.
Finally, Yeats used alliteration and assonance in this poem to create a sense of musicality. As I mentioned earlier, the repetition of the "m" sound in the first line of the first stanza creates a musical effect that draws the reader into the poem. Yeats also used assonance, such as the repetition of the long "o" sound in "now" and "nothing," to create a sense of unity and structure.
"Poetry, An Appointment" is a powerful poem that explores the struggle to find meaning in life and the power of art to provide that meaning. Yeats used several literary techniques to convey his message, including repetition, symbolism, and alliteration. The poem's musicality draws the reader into its world, while its structure and form give the poem a sense of unity and structure. Overall, "Poetry, An Appointment" is a masterpiece of modern poetry and a testament to the power of language to inspire and move us.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
William Butler Yeats is one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, and his poem "An Appointment" is a classic example of his mastery of language and imagery. This poem is a deeply personal reflection on the nature of time and the fleeting nature of life, and it is a powerful reminder of the importance of living in the present moment.
The poem begins with a simple statement: "Being out of heart with government." This line sets the tone for the rest of the poem, as it establishes a sense of disillusionment and dissatisfaction with the world. Yeats was writing during a time of great political and social upheaval, and this line reflects his own feelings of frustration and despair.
The next line, "I took a broken root to fling," is a powerful image that suggests a sense of anger and frustration. The broken root represents the poet's own sense of brokenness and despair, and the act of flinging it suggests a desire to lash out at the world and express his frustration.
The third line, "Where the proud, wayward squirrel went," introduces a new image that is both playful and poignant. The squirrel represents a sense of freedom and independence, and its waywardness suggests a desire to break free from the constraints of society and live life on its own terms. This image is a powerful reminder of the importance of individuality and self-expression, and it sets the stage for the rest of the poem.
The next few lines of the poem are filled with vivid imagery and powerful emotions. Yeats describes the "dancing bell" of the hare, the "whistling wings" of the plover, and the "sudden burst of song" from the lark. These images are all symbols of freedom and joy, and they serve to contrast with the poet's own sense of despair and disillusionment.
The final lines of the poem are perhaps the most powerful, as they offer a powerful reflection on the nature of time and the fleeting nature of life. Yeats writes, "And I went wandering aimlessly, / And I saw how evening came / And how morning followed night, / And I heard the lark sing out, / And I heard the plover call, / And I heard the snipe fly out."
These lines are a powerful reminder of the importance of living in the present moment and cherishing the beauty of the world around us. They suggest that even in the midst of despair and disillusionment, there is still beauty and joy to be found in the world, and that we should strive to appreciate and cherish these moments while we can.
In conclusion, "An Appointment" is a powerful and deeply personal reflection on the nature of time and the fleeting nature of life. It is a reminder of the importance of living in the present moment and cherishing the beauty of the world around us, even in the midst of despair and disillusionment. Yeats' mastery of language and imagery is on full display in this poem, and it is a testament to his enduring legacy as one of the greatest poets of the 20th century.
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