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A Personal Response to the Poetry of W.B. Yeats

            Of all the poets on my Leaving Cert course, WB Yeats is easily my favourite. Although I am at ease in engaging with Yeats themes it is also his unique craft that has an impact on me. Yeats is a poet who uses powerful metaphors and images that have a very memorable quality that, in my view, makes Yeats the most quotable of poets. Finally, the one thing I love about Yeats' poetry is its dynamic quality. Yeats sets up dynamic contrasts in every one of his poems which for me makes his poetry interesting and thought – provoking. I found these traits particularly evident in "September 1913", "Eater 1916", "Lake Isle Of Innisfree", "An Irish airman foresees his death" "The Wild Swans at Coole" and "Swift's Epitaph". .
             Yeats cared passionately about his country, and regularly reflected on the state of the nation in his verse. September 1013 is a public poem, political ballad in which Yeats Expresses his disillusionment with the Irish middle classes. Yeats wrote it in response to a particular set of circumstances. He was prompted to express his contempt for the materialism and philistinism. The 1913 Lockout demonstrated the selfishness, mercenary – minded nature of Dublin's merchants, while the rejection of the renowned art collection reflected their lack of respect for cultural and artistic values.
             In the opening stanzas Yeats speaks directly to the merchants. His contempt for their grasping miserliness is suggested by the image of scrooge like figures fumbling in 'a greasy till' and 'adding the halfpence to the pence.' The reference to 'shivering prayer' suggests their cowardice. The ruthless merchants have no qualms about exploiting the workers to the point where they have 'dried the marrow from the bone.' Yeats is being ironic when he suggests that men 'men were born to pray and save.

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