“Wild Swans at Coole”, “Easter 1916” and “The Second Coming” encapsulate the romanticism in his early poetry to civil influences and then a modernist approach in the later years. The three poems explore distinct transition of a poet while discussing ideas of history, love and politics.
“WC”, written in romantic style, emphasises his inner turmoil through an array of poetic techniques entrenched within a cynical yet lethargic tone. “Nine and fifty swans” exemplifies the misery of his single life by juxtaposing the strength in unity of the swans. This enduring symbol of swans in his poetry evokes empathy towards his depressed state as he continues to elevate the imagery of the swans by juxtaposing their unity “cold companionable streams” to his solitude.
The subtle metaphor to Maud Gonne’s beauty in “clamorous wings” and “brilliant creatures” accentuates a response of sympathy as romantic vibrant imagery ironically contrasts the woes of rejection. The reader’s views are best influenced through a nihilistic outlook on the poem, which questions the purpose of existence, showcasing the persona’s plight of losing zest in life. “The heart is sore” highlights his worsening mental state in questioning existence, evoking reflection from the reader on their personal troubles. It allows textual integrity in decoding themes of anguish and sadness, despite any contextual audience.
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Textual integrity through ambivalence is evident in “Slouches towards Bethlehem” as the Occultist view suggests allusion to birth, death or rebirth, leaving the reader to interpret the meaning from the techniques and themes. This ambiguous nature in textual integrity provides link in themes and morals relevant to a vast contextual audience. Thus the enduring power is derived from this modernist approach.
The three poems explore styles of a poet continually re-inventing himself. The transition from romanticism to modernism while discussing personal relations and civil concerns depicts the enduring power of poetry that can relate to any contextual audience. Hence, the timeless appeal of his poetry, coupled with the textual integrity in the themes, shapes personal responses and evokes interpretations from readers regarding the ambivalence in his work.
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