An Analysis of Yeats and Updike

Topics: Swan, William Butler Yeats, Poetry Pages: 3 (1251 words) Published: November 27, 2011
The poems, "The Wild Swans at Coole" and "The Great Scarf of Birds," unconsciously play off one another. Yeats and Updike paint similar pictures about similar topics. Although these poems consist of similar subjects, the authors' diction and details are at completely different ends of the poetry spectrum. William Butler Yeats' poem "The Wild Swans at Coole" tells of a man who, in the autumn, would visit this pool of water that was a resting place for a flock of swans. He visits them one autumn but does not return for 19 years, "The nineteenth autumn has come upon me since I first made my count." Yeats uses simple diction so he does not distract from the empasis on the swans themselves. Words like; "Clamorous" (line 12) and "Bell-beat" (line 17) describe the nature of the swan's wings, the sounds they make and the effect the sound has on him. The details that Yeats gives about the swans, help the reader to visualize what the speaker is seeing. "The trees are in their autumn beauty, The woodland paths are dry." tells us the season that the poem is set and gives us a picture of the speakers surroundings. "I have looked upon these creature and now my heart is sore." The speaker is very fond of these swans, that is why he visits them and watches their continuing cycle of coming and going. John Updike's poem "The great Scarf of Birds" describes a scene that the speaker sees while standing on a golf course in October (autumn, just like Yeats). Unlike Yeats, Updike sees these birds only once and was never indending to see them at all. These birds appear in a "lady's scarf" like formation. There were so many birds that "a cloud appeared, a cloud of dots" (line 16). Updike use more complex diction than Yeats does. Updike uses words like; "transparent trees" (line 7), "paper undulates" (line 18) and "negligently tossed" (line 47) That help the reader see how monstrous this flock of birds was and the dark effect their appearence had on the...
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