Thursday, February 7, 2019

A Coat by W.B. Yeats

Working proof 9 for Poems by W.B. Yeats, Coat II
Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco
artist interpretation of The Coat

I made my song a coat

covered with embroideries

Out of old mythologies

From heel to throat; but the fools caught it,

Wore it in the world's eyes

As though they'd wrought it.

Song, let them take it,

For there's more enterprise

In walking naked.

Every poem has layers and layers of meaning.

The reader is the one who 

Takes it and decides on the writer's intent.

What does The Coat say to you? What is its interpretation?

W. B. Yeats was fortunate to be born to some degree of wealth from his mother, and world of art, music, and poetry from his father John Butler Yeats.  Surrounded by such AND not having to worry about supporting himself, W.B. Yeats had freedom to develop his poetry.

His poetry reflects and captures the times and changes of Ireland.

William butler yeats meme 2


  1. When I am using Chrome there are several blogs I cannot comment on, I just learned this is one. But now I have switched to Foxfire and will remember next time.
    Not being a deep thinker, I thought of showmanship with the coat. Elvis came to mind (LOL) BUT: Poems are for Sissies, I once thought, Until Mrs Grill, I had read naught! But she in her teaching way, 'learned' me that poets had much to say. (LOL)
    Mrs. Grill of the 7th grade in a mountain school did instill in me a love for poetry. The poem says to me, someone opened me up to know my innermost thoughts. ??
    This one is a thinker, methinks I am too old for hard questions. LOL
    Love it, from cnetral Flroida,
    Sherry & jack

    1. Oh, Jack. I bet you get asked many hard questions.

  2. Replies
    1. Yeats has so many poems that I love. this one struck a different note for me.

  3. Interesting. Alas, I don't have the patience to parse poems, so I'll just say it sounded nice.

  4. Replies
    1. He was. His gravestone says: Cast a cold eye, on life, on death, horseman pass by.

  5. My thoughts on this poem are that Yeats is expressing frustration that his words get used by others as it they wrote them. There is nothing he could do about that. So, being "stripped", he basically says "oh, well".

    I like Yeats. He plays with words, uses metaphors. this poem is one big metaphor.

    At least, those are my thoughts. What could be yours?

  6. He looks very much like my brother Jack that I lost long ago. Poetry is like art. It speaks to each of us in a different tongue that I often don't understand. Think I needed a person similar to jack69's Mrs. Grill in my life.

    1. We all need someone like Mrs. Grill. She must have been a great teacher.

  7. I love that poetry (and art more generally) are entirely subjective.
    I read it that others had commandeered his words/his creation for their own. And he let them, deciding to walk 'naked' set him apart.

  8. I believe in one of the many million times he was asked about American Pie's meaning, Don McLean said something to the effect that he preferred to let each listener find their own meaning. To me, the poem says much the same thing. No matter who wears the coat, a different heart is contained within.

  9. Having such well to do parents freed him to use his talents to create such meaningful poetry.

  10. Susan:
    I really like the comments about this post.
    Every person sees not (only) with their eyes, but with their hearts.
    Poetry has that effect, and many times, it brings calm to the soul as we're taught to see things we'd otherwise overlook in life.

    Nicely presented.

  11. The value of letting go is what I get out of this poem. Let it go, move on because it is so true that there's indeed more enterprise in walking naked.

  12. They may get our coat, but they can't get us. No one gets us but us.

  13. I'm not good at interpretations. I take this as Yeats lamenting the theft of his ideas, but not dwelling on it, because there are more where that came from.

    Every time I see a reference to Yeats, I think of a "rough beast slouching towards Bethlehem." That's what stuck with me, since high school. I'm not even sure we studied Yeats. I might have just turned the text randomly to "The Second Coming." It's kind of depressing.

    1. He has a sense of darkness in some poems, true.

  14. Most poetry says nothing at all to me, including this. I just don't seem to be able to find any meaning in poems. I'm fine with rhyming jokes and limericks that make me laugh.

    1. Why we find or don't find something in a poem is the way we approach the man who wrote it.

  15. We just covered poetry. It's really hard for the grades I teach but I was really proud how they worked through it! I think all grades should be exposed to it. We didn't get to Yeats. Lucky him to be able to cultivate his passion without financial worry. :)

    1. I bet your students gained a lot from having you as their teacher.

      Yeats might be difficult. Being Irish, his poetry reflect that difficult time in Irish history.

  16. I believe everyone takes out meaning according to his own perspective

    to me the coat presents "perspective" of writer

    He is ready to give away or to loose his certain way of thinking
    he wants to be free thinker without patterns and prejudices so he used the word "naked" here


Go won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!