Poetry: William Butler Yeats


I haven’t read a Yeats poem that I didn’t like. The children of creative people, it makes sense that Yeats went into creating art in his own way. He was influenced by his poet friends and a strong interest in mysticism. In 1923, Yeats was awarded the Noel Prize in Literature and was the first Irishman to win it. His personal life is very interesting to me, as it involves the seemingly “classic” problems that poets face when it comes to love, such as adoring a muse, being rejected by the one they love, and having lots of affairs, with much younger women specifically.

My favorite poem of his comes from the third section of a larger poem entitled “A Man Young and Old.” This is “The Mermaid.”

A mermaid found a swimming lad,
Picked him for her own,
Pressed her body to his body,
Laughed; and plunging down
Forgot in cruel happiness
That even lovers drown.


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