Saturday, April 13, 2013

Analysis of "A Coat" by William Butler Yeats

Original poem reprinted online here: "A Coat" by William Butler Yeats
Originally read: January 18, 2013
More information about the Poet:  William Butler Yeats


I don't know what form this is.  There is a rhyme scheme, but it's not as consistent or follows a specific pattern.  Maybe since there is a certain foolishness with the poem in multiple levels, so the rhyme is offbeat -- depicts "humor."

And this poem is humorous, especially when looking at the end lines, "For there's more enterprise / In walking naked."  There's a sense of defiance here that doesn't seem completely serious; however, in spite of the rhyme scheme and the ending, I feel the crux of the poem is the creation of the coat in the first four lines.

     I made my song a coat
     Covered with embroderies
     Out of old mythologies
     From heel to throat

There's the concept of exposing oneself versus exposing one's art.  And, at least for me seeing this poem as meta-poetics, sees these lines as a poet.  That the construction of a coat is comprised of well known poetic techniques: song (rhythm and rhyme), embroideries (following a form, iambics, dactyl perhaps), and mythologies (allusions).  Yet it's a coat that covers "heel to throat"  there should be no instance of the poet in the poem.

The next four lines talks about the "fools" that "caught it."  Past me wrote this distinction, "'fools caught it' stolen or caught on?"  Meaning, did fools try to copy the speakers coat style, or did the steal it and make it better.  In either case, the speaker isn't very pleased with the people, or the world.

So at the end of the poem, the last lines I quoted in the beginning, is the exposing of the self as the subject -- that there's more possibilities in looking at oneself and exposing oneself in poetry than in tried and (maybe doggerel) construction.

But, perhaps, the humor undercuts this concept -- and maybe this is just a poem about giving the middle finger to idiots. 

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