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Which poem by Yeats should I choose to compare to "i am a little church' by e.e....

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annmic | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted June 8, 2012 at 1:14 PM via web

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Which poem by Yeats should I choose to compare to "i am a little church' by e.e. cummings?

The comparison should be according to as many of the following: structure, impact of language, use of nature, originality (if the poem brings a new or different sense of poetry or human experience), how the poems enable us to endure life or better enjoy it, the use of imagery for emotional effect/other usage, the problem of environmental deterioration, etc.

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted June 8, 2012 at 4:50 PM (Answer #1)

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There is an echo of cummings poem in the Yeats poem “Sailing to Byzantium,” not superficially (Byzantium was a great capitol, closer to a cathedral than a “little church") but in its placing of the common man, the individual, inside something larger, Nature. In the line “Once out of Nature I shall never take/My bodily form from any natural thing,” we hear the same sentiment as cummings’ "i am a little church (far from the frantic world with its rapture and anguish) at peace with nature.” Further, Yeats’ narrator, an old man, “a tattered coat upon a stick” rejects “monuments of unaging intellect” just as cummings’ narrator rejects “the splendor and squalor of hurrying cities.” Both poems are about the wisdom and simplicity that comes with maturity, the turning away from earthly splendor “to Him whose only now is forever.”

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