Swans

by tobelikeafeatherby

Ellie,

I have spent the last couple of weeks studying Yeats’ poetry. I read his poems feeling great nostalgia for Ireland. If only we had appreciated the country more as children. I do sometimes wonder if my fellow classmates can feel moved by Yeats without having a grasping of Irish history or life. Yeats captures all to love about the country: the balsy spirit or the mystical and otherworldly countryside. Swans are a recurring motif in Yeats’ work.

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William Butler Yeats

The Wild Swans at Coole was inspired by his friend Lady Gregory’s estate Coole Park. I find the poem his most graceful and serene. When read aloud you can hear the movement of the swans.

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Coole Park

Leda and the Swan is comparatively sinister being inspired by the greek myth whereby Leda is raped by Zeus in the form of a swan. The poem is shocking but manages to refrain from being grotesque considering the topic. Instead I am entranced by its enthralling and beguiling beauty. Yeats forever loved Maude Gonne, a feisty Irish nationalist (who herself is fascinating), yet she never loved him back rendering the passion for poems such as this. My favourite poem we have studied thus far.

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Leda and the Swan by Francois Boucher

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Leda and he Swan by Bartolomeo Ammannati

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Leda and the Swan by Paul Cezanne

The myth has surely inspired some provocative art. Would love to know what you think. Read this oscar article. Edie recommended. Spot on.

Love Sarah xx

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