Madeline's Reviews > The Collected Poems

The Collected Poems by W.B. Yeats
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Feb 18, 10

bookshelves: assigned-reading, poetry
Read in February, 2010

I like Yeats, I think. Mostly because he likes Irish mythology and writes lots of poems about it - a basic knowledge of Irish myths is helpful, but not totally necessary.

One of my favorites, for sheer Icky But Awesome Factor, is Leda and the Swan. My class spent nearly an hour discussing it and I almost understand it.


A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.

Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?"

Read for: Modern Poetry
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Stephanie Marie Amen. Leda and the Swan is absolutely beautiful-- but there is an overwhelming ick factor in the imagery. Kind of...

message 2: by Mark (new) - added it

Mark Yeats wrote a poem comparing a lady to the Sargasso Sea? Are you sure you're not thinking of Pound's Portrait Une Femme? (Your mind and you are our Sargasso sea....)

Don't mean to be a smartass, just curious. I've yet to plow through this whole thing, and it's interesting to me if Pound & Yeats used the exact same idea.

Madeline Heh. I may have gotten my poets mixed up. I'll check on that and change it if need be.

Moira Russell Yeah, that's Pound, not Yeats.

Your mind and you are our Sargasso Sea,
London has swept about you this score years
And bright ships left you this or that in fee:
Ideas, old gossip, oddments of all things,
Strange spars of knowledge and dimmed wares of price.
Great minds have sought you- lacking someone else.
You have been second always.

Madeline Alright, my bad. Changing it.

Margali I adore Yeats. I've read The Second Coming at least 50 times, and those last lines give me the chills every single time.

"...And what rough beast, its time come round at last
Shuffles toward Bethlehem to be born?"

Madeline Oh, I remember that one from class. Gave me goosebumps, too.

Manny Jordan and I were discussing Leda just the other day! I agree, it's an amazing poem.

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