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W.B. Yeats

            Meaning in poetry is created from the reader making the connection between the literal and the metaphorical, and in doing so, "reading between the lines." At first glance, Yeats" poetry may seem to be merely spontaneous emotion, however, after close literary analysis, it is clear that Yeats" poetry is often fairly systematic and reveals an assortment of reoccurring ideas. When analysis of Yeats" works is undertaken, especially when discussing Yeats" ideas and thoughts expressed through his poetry, it is often useful to consider the context of the poems. Throughout his life, Yeats was preoccupied with the concept of the cyclic nature of history in what he presented in "gyres." Towards the end of his life, Yeats" works continually displayed subject matter concerned with time and change, and stages of life progressing. Yeats" often drew parallel's between ideas within his poems, and also, between poems. These regularly reiterated ideas are clearly uncovered when analysis is applied to Yeats" poetry, which indeed, on first reading appears to be predominantly spontaneous emotion. .
             As part of Yeats" obsession with history in his poetry, a common idea among many of Yeats" poems is that the ordinary and seemingly insignificant aspects of life can lead to sweeping historical changes and the ends of epochs. "Long-Legged Fly" (1939) is a poem which presents the intimate sides of great people such as "Caesar" and "Michael Angelo." Yeats" compares and contrasts the intensities of two moments through imagery; the intimate moment of a young girl practicing a dance step, and the history-changing burning and destruction of Troy. The effect of this contrasting imagery is to emphasise the importance of the intimate. The idea present in "Long-Legged Fly" is that the mundane and quotidian moments in life are vital in building ad contributing to character, and may have enormous repercussions capable of ending an era.

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