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He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven Analysis

Author: poem of William Butler Yeats Type: poem Views: 34

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Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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Sir Ken Robinson read this poem on one his TED talks: \"Bring on the learning revolution! He believes that we have created an industrial based education system through which imagination and creativity is being educated out of our children for the benefit of the industrial world. He explains that trying to reforming this world wide education system is just trying to fix something that is no longer functioning. An agricultural base system, one that\'s organic and changes with our ever changing world, is what would salvage the future of our children. He ends his talk by reading this poem. Another way of interpreting this boundless poem. ==> x

| Posted on 2012-08-27 | by a guest

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I take on board all of the comments here written and being a true fan of this Poem, so much so that I intend to and have designed a tattoo of it with my daughters name \"enwrought\" within it, would like to offer my simple yet heartfelt opinion of its meaning. Yeats I believe says that had he the ability to make someone walk in the heavens (sky) and see the true beauty of the world he would, but in comparison to the world itself he has little to offer the reader other than his dreams. So rather than having the ability to walk in the heavens \"embroidered\" cloths he gives the reader the ability to imagine his dreams but asks for care to be taken when \"treading\" through his dreams, as they are his and does not want them tainting for the next person, just like the idiot who mentions about urinating!!!!

| Posted on 2012-05-03 | by a guest

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This is the sweetest thing a man has ever said to a woman
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams

| Posted on 2012-01-04 | by a guest

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He wants to piss on her head but his Merchachkies cant stretch that far

| Posted on 2011-11-07 | by a guest

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This poem explains to its audience the beauty of eagerness and anticipation for the future. From the comments I have managed to read I remain unsure as to whether this poem refers to WB Yeats\' love life or whether he is in fact reflecting upon the world as a whole.

| Posted on 2011-10-03 | by a guest

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Greatest most instantly recognizeable poem ever written

| Posted on 2011-06-06 | by a guest

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I find this poem beautiful and romantic and it truly portrays what love truly is. W.B Yeats displays in a moving way that he would do anything for his love. Even if he has nothing. He would give her anything. Simply a wonderful piece of work.

| Posted on 2011-05-19 | by a guest

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i think that w.b yeats is saying that he would give her the sky if he had it but he is poor and only has his dreams and he says he would give her his dreams, he would give her everything

| Posted on 2011-03-01 | by a guest

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I think this is what the person in the poem tries to tell;
I want to be enlighted, to have all the good characteristics to be able to behave in times of sadness and angriness. If I had this characteristics I would share them with you, threat you in the way I want to be threatened. But I don’t have those characteristics and therefore I can only tell you what I want to become. As this are my inner feelings I ask you to handle them with care and do not judge them.

| Posted on 2011-02-28 | by a guest

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My take on this poem:
Yeats was a fervent supporter of Irish freedom, while living under the rule of a wealthy and oppressive foreign rule. I read this poem as a plea to England from the Irish, who had their own dreams of self-rule and peace. If the Irish had their freedom and the riches of England, they would have offered the same to their ruler.
But all Ireland could do in their poor and miserable plight of the late 19th century was to lay their dreams at the foot of England and plead for a bit of respect.

| Posted on 2011-02-08 | by a guest

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Thanks, for all ur comments below they helped aloy in my exam! Haha ... (:

| Posted on 2011-02-04 | by a guest

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I agree with the post written 2007-09-30 and I think they did a great job on that. It is also safe to say the poem is about Maud Gonne considering how close he wrote it to the first time he proposed to her.

| Posted on 2010-09-06 | by a guest

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The 2007-09-30 analysis is totally intense!!

| Posted on 2010-07-01 | by a guest

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One should also consider the poem's meaning if its addressee were taken to be Yeats' reader, i.e., we ourselves, or even -- more abstractly -- the people or life of the world. If so, Yeats' "dreams" would then be his verses, his poems. They are spread under our hands, nearly under our feet. The poet, Yeats, wants to give the world something of great intensity, wants to *be* in the world with the greatest possible human intensity. He wants to give the world "the heavens' embroidered cloths" -- these in all their possible intensities, even "the dark cloths of night," and even the half light. He wants to capture or convey the intensity of life to all of those who, perhaps, would not be fully aware of it. But though he wants to convey this impossibly magnificent and obscure totality, he cannot do so. He has not the talent -- perhaps a greater poet or greater creature could -- or perhaps it is simply not possible for anyone to do. He has only his dreams, his poems, his feeble attempts at reaching these heights, these heights which he himself imagines, perhaps even foolishly. They are -- all told -- perhaps simply dreams, easily dismissible, a mistake, a fool's babbling. Nonetheless, he has spread these dreams, be they what they may, under your feet, under the world's feet. (Note that he is not offering to do so -- "I would spread my dreams under your feet" -- rather, he has in fact done so: "I have spread my dreams....") He then, from his own vulnerability, the blue and the dim and the dark vulnerability of his soul against its golden and silver streaks of light, ... he then addresses the world as its exhausted supplicant: "Tread softly." Strongest is if it is not simply the reader who is addressed, but the entire world of life and judgment upon a limited human soul: Tread softly, "because you tread on my dreams."

| Posted on 2010-06-09 | by a guest

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I heard Anthony Quinn read it in the Movie 84 Charing Cross Road and have loved it ever since. Now I know who wrote it. R. Morrow, Indianapolis, IN

| Posted on 2010-04-10 | by a guest

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RE: the analysis of the poem by the person on the 30.9.2009
i agree. that's what i was going to say.
Aidyonline rox

| Posted on 2010-03-31 | by a guest

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he wishes for the cloths of heaven is hard and hardcore, also old school

| Posted on 2010-03-15 | by a guest

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the analysis of the poem by the person(30.9.2009)is beautiful.its difficult to believe that this is his/her first poetic analysis

| Posted on 2010-03-11 | by a guest

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He's invested all he has in something. He doesn't think it's enough. He's praying to the world (lover/child/people/etc.) for some sort of grace. "Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams"

| Posted on 2010-02-18 | by a guest

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He wants to offer her the moon on a stick but he dont have a pot to piss in.right now
.but dreams can become reality if she treads softly

| Posted on 2010-02-14 | by a guest

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best line ever written- tread sofly because you tread on my dreams

| Posted on 2010-01-18 | by a guest

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its ur boii duggle dizz 2007-09-30 man u a ledgend
keep it up man !!
double d . . . . .

| Posted on 2009-11-30 | by a guest

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30/09/2007 guest
man u a ledgend ! , keep it up man !!

| Posted on 2009-11-30 | by a guest

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Both analysis offered are wonderfully written. Guest on 30/09/2007, thank you so much for taking the time to write it all out. I gained a much deeper understanding of this beautiful poem from what you wrote.

| Posted on 2009-11-24 | by a guest

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Em, the second analysis on this page is horrific.
I think that this poem is about Maud and that the love is unrequited and he is basically showing her how vulnerable he is to her and how he feels barely worthy of her and her beauty.

| Posted on 2009-06-02 | by a guest

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I think is a mixture of both of the analysis before mine.I think is really well written poem and the feeling is really beautiful: given all you have to you loved one.
(Thank you for the all the analysis to have a better understanding of the magnific poem of Yates.)

| Posted on 2009-04-01 | by a guest

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The post left on the 03/09/07 is a beautiful analysis of one of my faveourite poems, thanks!

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by a guest

.: My analysis :.

Before I begin with my analysis, I'd like to point out that this is my first attempt at poetical analysis - so don't judge me too harshly.

The subject of the poem is fairly clear to almost all who read it. The narrator is telling his love that he -- there is no gender attached to the poem's narrator, but since the author is Yeats I will refer to the narrator as a male -- would give them anything and although the return of her affection is implied, it isn't stated; which to me makes Yeats's affection appear pure in intention. I also believe not only is he showing her what beauty hed offer her if he could; he is also, as line five indirectly indicates to, is comparing her to all this beauty.

The first-half of the poem is full of intense, wonderful images. Describing how Yeats himself views the heavens (The sky and everything above it, as opposed to The Heaven.)
The first line I feel could be translated as: "Had I the material that the heavens are constructed with." Suggesting the heavens were carefully crafted with these beautiful cloths, with the intense passion of a 'skilled-needleworker.'
The next line adds to this theme of the heavens being carefully crafted (Enwought), and like an artist he splashed hints of colour in our minds; namely gold (a sunset and the sun itself) and silver (a wonderful overcast sky and the stars.)
The next two lines allude to the differing appearance of the heavens throughout the day. Also suggesting when he would give her the heavens' cloths, he doesn't mean just a moment, but the heavens in their eternal entirety.
The third line paints the colours of midday - 'The blue,' of early morning or late afternoon - 'the dim,' and evening - 'the dark cloths.'
The fourth line wonderfully shades the scene with the light-intensity from the three periods of the heavens, which he describes in the previous line. Interestingly he has mixed up the order of these three periods, once again alluding to the idea of embroidery and also a majestic synthesis of these periods and their colours.

The second-half of the poem begins to address the woman of his affections, perhaps Maud Gonne.
He begins, I feel, quite powerfully. "I would spread the cloths under your feet," considering what he described in the first-half of the poem, a wonderful image of Yeats gracefully pulling the entire heavens' down and laying them beneath her feet is created. Also the use of the verb spread indicates how carefully he would lay them beneath her feet, just as carefully as they where created. I think this is indirectly comparing her beauty to that of all the heavens beauty.
The next line is a sudden drop from all this embroidered imagery and we are almost slapped with reality. Which is not in the least bit awful as the sincerity of his affections appear more genuine and therefore I feel a lot more powerful. The opening But I, being poor, I do not think he means poor in the monetary sense; rather it is an honest admission that he does not posses the heavens and is unable to give them to her. Instead he offers her his dreams. The beauty of Yeatss description of the heavens is almost dream-like suggesting that while he cant offer the physical heavens, he can offer the heavens of his dreams, the heavens he has just described to her. Also to add to the intensity of his offer is the fact that dreams are an extremely personal thing, and in a philosophical sense he alludes to the idea that all he is is his dreams; therefore he is offering his whole-self to her.
The next line is almost a refrain of the fifth, with two major differences. The cloths have, not would be, been replaced with my dreams. This change amplifies the idea that what he offers her isnt anything material and tangible, but he has given his dreams, himself, something intangible and all the more precious because of this.
The final line is both a command and a declaration Yeats gives to his love. At the beginning of this line, Tread softly he tells her to treat his affections and himself with care and caution. Then the final part of the line tells her why, for you tread on my dreams. He tells her how vulnerable he is to her, how easily she could break his dreams and Yeats himself, if she treats his affections with anything but care and caution.

Finally I would like to talk about the construction of the poem itself. Firstly I will give my interpretation of the metre of this poem. Overall I would consider it to be Iambic-tetrametre, although the feet are also comprised of Anapaests, trochees, pyrrhi, spondees and even crectics. I will use the / symbol for stressed and x for unstressed syllables.

/x | x/ | xx/ | x/
x/ | x/ | xx/ | x/
x/ | xx/ | xx | //
x/ | x/ | xx | //
xx/ | x/ | x/| x/
/x | /x | /x/ | xx/
x/ | /x/ | /x | x/
/x | /x | x/ | xx/

Notice how lines 1&2 (Iamb), 3&4 (Spondee), 5&7(Iamb) and 6&8(Anapaest) all end with the same feet. This, I feel, adds to the cohesion of the poem and its ideas. Lines 1&2 are about the creation of the heavens cloths.
Lines 3&4 are describing the heavens cloths and alluding to the ideas that he means them in their eternal entirety.
Lines 5&6 are the most effective use of this, I feel, as they also use the same refrain-rhyme and it really forces the reader to compare what he could offer, what he thinks she would consider valuable and what he really can offer, which is brought across to be more valuable as it is intangible and therefore priceless. Also the way the feet are organised ties the verb spread to different things. Line five spread is in an anapaest, I would spread. In line seven however spread is in a cretic, spread my dreams now Yeats hits home what he is spreading. This really stands out when you read the poem and the reader knows exactly what is being spread.
The other cretic in the poem is wonderfully placed as well, also making those words stand out; being poor this cretic is important as it is the pivot between Yeatss embroidered view of the heavens and what he would give, and how passionately he loves the woman.
There is so much more I could write about this poem but I feel this says enough for one sitting. As I come to the end of this analysis I feel a lot closer and connected to this beautiful poem. I also now feel that in the first-half of the poem Yeats is describing, not just the heavens themselves, but the object of his affection. I think this poem is incredibly rich in imagery, passion and beauty. The extreme vulnerability Yeats shows in the last line is an amazing end. It is almost as if when he shows us his vulnerability he is letting the woman now that he is now naked (truthful and pure) before her.

| Posted on 2007-09-30 | by a guest

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I have always wrote and loved poetry and know that one persons interpretation of another's poems is rarly the same as the next. However in my humble opinion I feel this poem is about a man wanting to offer the person of his affection the heavens here on earth. I think that maybe the referrence to light is meant as how he desperatly wants to brighten up this persons world.He wants to put heaven under there feet and let them never walk in the pain of darkness again. Unfortunatly though he is a poor man and only has hes dreams which I think he is promising to give to his love.He wants to give his love everything and everything he has is his dreams.He is asking his love to tread softly on them as they are all he has and all he has to offer.

| Posted on 2007-01-20 | by a guest

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