The Lake Isle of Innisfree Questions and Answers
by William Butler Yeats

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What do you think is meant by the poem's words "deep heart's core"?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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At the end of the poem, the speaker says that he hears the sound of the waters of Lake Innisfree lapping gently at the shores. He also states that he hears this sound when he is standing on a roadway or on a "pavement," which is a British term for a sidewalk, implying he is in a city.

If he is in a city or the edge of a busy road, how can he be hearing the calm, lapping waters of a beloved lake that is far away? He explains that he hears the sound in his "deep heart's core."

He means that he hears the sound in his imagination. However, it is significant that he does not say "imagination." The heart is associated with emotion. In the phrase "deep heart's core," the speaker is trying to communicate that he feels the memory of the soothing lapping of the waters as a calming emotion amid all the hectic, urban business of life. He carries his time with nature inside of himself, and it helps keep him at peace.

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coachingcorner eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In the poem 'The Lake Isle of Inisfree' by William Butler Yeats, the poet is feeling homesick for the landscape he loves in the west of Ireland. Although he came from an anglo-irish background he developed a deep love for the Irish people and their cause (freedom) and culture - he worked to develop drama and theatre after the setting up of the Irish Free State. This love sprang from very deep in his psyche (his 'deep heart's core.') It is also reminiscent of the Irish Gaelic language which is very poetic and talks in terms of things belonging to other things. For example, another example would be 'my heart's pulse' which is a beautiful term for a child or a deeply loved person. So here Yeats is referring both to his own heart,the profundity of love and also to the centre of the earth itself. In a similar way he writes 'the centre cannot hold' and 'things fall apart' in his poems about chaos and revolution. Being 'centred' was very important to Yeats and to many Irish people today.

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