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The Poetry of Yeats

            Yeats poetry has the unique ability to unify the dichotomous aspects of human existence in a lyrical manifestation of the realm of art, our memories fraught with contradiction, our current struggle with meaning and the processes of time and decay. His poems, 'Wild Swans at Coole' explores the conflicting tension of perpetual youth and our inevitable mortality while his great philosophical poem 'Among School Children' takes this dichotomy further in an often despairing quest for meaning in the face of 'sixty winters' of pain. The element of art is not served as a solution for the tensions and arguments within Yeats heart, but instead offers him the possibility of some form of transcendent solace for the dualities of his heart.
             The human obsession with the elusive nature of immortality and time is often brought into sharp relief when we are brought face to face with our own mortality. 'Wild Swans at Coole' provides a poignant reverie on the poet's own transient existence and his growing awareness of the passing of time, setting up a seemingly irreconcilable gap between the beauty and vigour of lost youth and the imperfections of aging. The poem is structured in 5 stanzas, each consisting 6 lines, along with a rough iambic meter. He begins in the present with a symbolic/metaphorical reference to 'autumn' years of life observing that "All's changed" as he reaches the "twilight" of life. Yeats' confinement within the metaphoric 'dry' 'woodland paths' of time and the seasons is contrasted with the mysteriously changeless swans. Their 'clamorous' movement is transformed into the circular imagery of "great broken rings" they metaphorically break free of time's constraints. The perpetual beauty and perfection of the "brilliant creatures" is further extended with the alliterative and sensual "bell beat" to create a sense of power to match their 'passion and conquest'.

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