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–Edward Thomas

Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain
On this bleak hut, and solitude, and me
Remembering again that I shall die
And neither hear the rain nor give it thanks
For washing me cleaner than I have been
Since I was born into this solitude.
Blessed are the dead that the rain rains upon:
But here I pray that none whom once I loved
Is dying tonight or lying still awake
Solitary, listening to the rain,
Either in pain or thus in sympathy
Helpless among the living and the dead,
Like a cold water among broken reeds,
Myriads of broken reeds all still and stiff,
Like me who have no love which this wild rain
Has not dissolved except the love of death,
If love it be for what is perfect and
Cannot, the tempest tells me,

7 January, 1916

The symbol system of “The Second Coming.”

A brief scan of the graphics on this site offers an idea of a “gyre” as a two-thousand year cycle.


For an idea of how many essays have been penned about Yeats’ symbolism and “The Second Coming,” this is a link to a 394-page book of essays that is quite in-depth.


Lastly, look at the wikipedia entry to see an example of how wiki can be quite tepid. (Even Schmoop beats them in this particular case.)

The Second Coming


Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney

This is gold.
Within the first minutes you will hear wisdoms that elude the common man.
One of the primary epics.

Things to listen for: the alliteration, especially head rhymes.
The kenning, a two-word metaphor, such as “swan’s road” for the sea, specifically, a voyage.


The Journey

The Journey

Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life you could save.

The Time Before Death

Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you are alive!
Think… and think… while you are alive.
What you call ‘salvation’ belongs to the time before death.

If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,
do you think ghosts will do it after?

The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
just because the body is rotten —
that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will simply end up with an apartment in the City of Death.

If you make love with the divine now, in the next
life you will have the face of satisfied desire.

So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is.
Believe in the Great Sound!

Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for,
it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest
that does all the work.

Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.


translated by Robert Bly

Understanding poetry: repetition and parallelism

Repetition and parallelism—the use of similar constructions within the sentence—need further expansion.  The queen of figurative language, repetition of sound or word or phrase slips from poetry to prose to speeches of art or urgency.  Memorize this terminology, then begin to see how the great writers and orators employ it.

anaphora, the same words open the clause series
e.g.,  What the hammer? What the chain? In what furnace was thy brain?
epistrophe, the same words close a clause series
e.g., When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child
symploce, the use of both anaphora and epistrophe:
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

asyndeton, the omission of conjunction
e.g., Veni, vidi, vici.
polysyndeton, the repetition of conjunction
e.g., …men and women who spoke the language of duty and morality and loyalty and obligation.
antithesis, opposition in construction
e.g., Many are called, few are chosen.
Man proposes, God disposes.
climax, clauses ascending in importance
e.g., …three things endure: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Additionally, there are different forms of asyndeton for the acutely-focused student:
apokoinu: …there was no breeze came through the door.
parataxis: I weep for Adonais—he is dead.
zeugma: Mary likes chocolate, John vanilla.

Figures of repetition

Figures of repetition

A fantastic resource with which to go deeper into figurative speech and the understanding of the craft.

From the aptly-named SILVA RHETORICAE: follow the branches.

Understanding poetry: terminology mnemonics

Close readers of the lists noted that I have arranged the terminology so that the first letters create the phrase mnemonic “The airship fuel.”

see https://kingsleyandersen.com/2013/08/05/understanding-poetry-rhyme-v-2/

In v.2 I have added consonance, assonance, and repetition, thus increasing the mnemonic to “The airship fuel car.”  As this may not appeal to your tastes, I offer the following mnemonics to aid you in memorizing the basics of rhyme. (If you don’t find any that stick in your memory, you are a hard nut indeed.)

Hi! Uplift a searcher
Relish fruit: a peach
A catfish pie hurler
Here, hurl a pacifist
Theirs a careful hip
Each a pushier flirt
A fireplace hurt his
A heretical fur ship
A peachier lush rift
Either hip’s a fulcra
Hire a plushier fact
A ripe flesh haircut
A haircut fire helps
Hurl a feistier chap
A filthier chap’s rue
Hurries a life patch
Charities fur a help
A spherical fire hut
He’s a spherical fruit
Uh, a seraphic lifter
Hurl a heraphic serif
Plus a charier thief
A charier he uplifts
Flip her a Eucharist
A chapel hires fruit
Preach a filthier us
Hi purchaser! A filet?
Hi! Purchase a trifle
Reach a flusher tipi
Hi! A spiteful archer
Hurl a spacier thief
A practice flier, huh?
A practice rifle, huh?
Uh a shiftier parcel