W. B. Yeats, After Long Silence

This poem is about the time just after a fight between two lovers. The heat and passion has died down and all that is left is silence. In a way, neither know what to do and perhaps feel that “speech after long silence; it is right.” The narrator appears to be older, if not old, due to the mention of young people in the last line (” young/ we loved each other and were ignorant”). On the other hand, perhaps the narrator is very old and frail indeed (“bodily decrepitude is wisdom”).

W. B. Yeats, The Sorrow of Love

As the title indicates, this poem discusses the sorrow associated with love. The first stanza sets the scene of a full moon and the night sky. The second stanza addresses the narrator’s antagonist, the woman with whom he is fighting. The woman is addressed as “you” and she’s described as having “red mournful lips” and eyes full of “a world’s tears”. The sparrows mentioned in the first stanza are mentioned again in the third stanza. The moon is likewise mentioned but instead of being “full round” it is now “crumbling.” The first and last stanza bookend the argument between the lovers by both opening and closing the setting. The fight is never discussed in detail because like a lot of fights, perhaps it does not matter.

W. B. Yeats, All Things Can Tempt Me

In this poem, Yeats discusses things that took his mind away from his work, i.e. poetry (“craft of verse”). Before he used to be tempted a lot of things including women and his mother land (“the needs of my fool driven land”). But now things seem to be different. In the second part of the poem, Yeats creates illustration of the poet who sings a song with ferocity. The poet has such conviction that he made the audience, young Yeats, believe that “he had a sword upstairs.”

W. B. Yeats, The Valley of the Black Pig

This poem is written from the perspective of a wild pig. Boar hunting is very popular in England and elsewhere but what makes this poem particularly interesting is that it is not from the perspective of the hunter. In the beginning of the poem, the black pig is sleeping and is awakened by “unknown spears.” The pig is frightened by the sound of war (“fallen horsemen” and “perishing armies”). In this case, the pig is not being hunted but is rather an observer of the barbarity of man. Another interesting detail is two mentions of the word “dew”, the first signifies the beginning of the day when the pig is awakened (“the dew drop slowly and dreams gather”) and the second signifies the end of the day (” when the day sings drowned in dew”).

W. B. Yeats, The Lake Isle of Innisfree

This poem is about the hope that all loners feel once in a while. In the first stanza, Yeats mentions a small cabin and beekeeping, a common theme for those who want to “live alone.” The narrator seeks peace and realizes that is hard to come by (“for peace comes dropping slow”). In the third stanza, the narrator indicates that he wants to spend his days here (“for always night and day”) and always hear “like water lapping with low sounds by the shore.” Finally he comes to the realization that the only way he can keep the Lake Isle with him always, even while standing “on the roadway or on the pavements gray” is by keeping it in his heart and mind (” in the deep heart’s core”).