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In Memory Of W.B. Yeats

W.H. Auden

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To the Contrary
Added by: Jason
The poem was written for his niece, I believe.
The ommited lines
Added by: shlomo
The following lines were present in the earlier edition of the poem, but were later excluded by the author:

Time that is intolerant
Of the brave and innocent,
And indifferent in a week
To a beautiful physique,
Worships language and forgives
Everyone by whom it lives;
Pardons cowardice, conceit,
Lays its honours at their feet.
Time that with this strange excuse
Pardoned Kipling and his views,
And will pardon Paul Claudel,
Pardons him for writing well.
Added by: james Dempsey
this is a good elegy about another famous poet named W.B. Yeats, and although Yeats is very famous Irish poet his words meant nothing, peotry does not help society, the meanings do not it is all just one mans thoughts and will not and can not stop somthing like a war which was somthing that was going on during the time this poem was written
Poetry CAN change things
Added by: Vassilissa
I would just like to disagree with the person who claimed that poetry cannot change things and poems mean NOTHING. This is 100% wrong.
When poetry was first introduced people loved it. They are a complex way to allow feelings to escape and jump right into the imagination to create beautiful images.
Think of it this way: Poetry was the beginning of a creative century, drama and acting was developed from the depths of this poetry and has become a part of modern life in disguise (Films)
Poetry DOES and ALWAYS will mean something. Maybe you should try to look more closely at things and learn that in everything you find something.
Added by: Pól
to vssilissa ('poetry CAN change things'). here's your mission:

1) read the poem again
2) read at least some literary theory.
3) re-think your comments.

alternativley, simply don't write anything ever, ever again. and stop readin poetry - you don't get it.

greetings from ireland. slán
You are both very wrong
Added by: Dan
I don't believe any of you have successfully read the poem. The statement that "poetry makes nothing happen" is a rhetorical comment that is refuted later in the poem. Auden is stating that the mere words of poetry do nothing. But he later states that it is irrelevant because when a reader makes meaningful extrapolations from the poem and applies them to personal experience, poetry can change everything -- more importantly it can change the things that are most meaningful in life. ie- (lines 56-65) Yeats' poetry "persuaded us to rejoice" it can "make a vineyard of the curse", "sing of human unsuccess/ in a rapture of distress", in the "deserts of the heart", poetry can "let the healing fountain start" and most importantly, poetry can "teach a free man how to praise." I appreciate your attempt, but you all recieve "F's."
Added by: anne
bravo dan, bravo! someone on this comments page got it right- please, all future visitors to the site read the above comment- this is what auden means: poetry *makes* nothing happen- that does NOT equate to: poetry doesn't *mean* anything!
In Memory of W.B. Yeats
Added by: Karim
Auden's elegy of Yeats is one of the most elegant and eloquest poems that Auden had ever written. The fusion of free verse with a strict rhyme pays homage to both the tradition and innovation that Yeats worked with in his entire career.
Best Elegy
Added by: Chandrashekar
This was one of the bests of Auden, considering the imagery involved and the amount of grief he expresses in these lines.
Let us, for a brief moment, stop exploring on the possibilities of a social change through poems, and start pondering over the meaning and implications of Auden's suggestions in the poem.
He is literally smashing everyone around for having been SO MUCH CARELESS about the loss of a maestro 'Yeats'. He says, that even the nature had been so much in tune with his death.(like, the winter, the cold dark day, mercury dipping low, etc.) So why shouldn't we too pay our due respects to the great poet?

That is what is being conveyed in these lines. Yes, of course there is a strong mention about poems' effectiveness in bringing about a social change. That, I believe depends upon the time factor. Nowadays, you just cannot bring about any sort of change using a poem, because people do enjoy listening, but only a handful ever think about it.
Unfortunately, none do anything about it!

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