Sailing to Byzantium

Topics: Death, William Butler Yeats, Ezra Pound Pages: 2 (551 words) Published: May 22, 2011
Sailing to Byzantium
Poetry means many things to people all over the world. Poetry is an outlet or artistic and creative way of telling a story or expressing your emotions. It is something that does not require a lot of skill, but imagination and feeling. “Sailing to Byzantium” written by William Butler Yeats is a poem that speaks of the craving for something one cannot have and the immortality of people, art and intellect, and greatness.

“Sailing to Byzantium” is a poem based on the theme longing for something one cannot have. In this case the old man in the poem is yearning to be young and live on forever even when his time is up. To escape death and old age the man sails to Byzantium. Byzantium is the opposite of the old man. “The young in one another’s arms, birds in the trees” and “The salmon falls, the mackerel crowded seas” are lines from the poem that illustrate the youth and vibrance of Byzantium, the youth and viberance the old man desires. Throughout the poem there are lines that hint about the immortality of people and life. One can continue to live on forever spiritually or by being remembered for having a great achievement or a great impact. In the second stanza Yeats writes, “An aged man is but a paltry thing.” The old man sees age as just a number. His body may be growing older, but his insides are youthful. In the third stanza Yeats writes “Into the artifice of eternity”. This line can translate into on the illusion of immortality. Finally, in the last stanza Yeats writes, “Once out of nature I shall never take my bodily form from any natural thing.” Yeats writes that once the old man has passed he will be remembered by a symbol or sculpture much like a royal emperor. He will be represented by any natural thing. In this poem it is important to the old man that he lives on forever in the magnificent paradise of Byzantium. In addition to the immortality of people, the continuous life of art and intellect were written about. In...
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