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He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven Simplified
Transcript of He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven Simplified
by W.B. Yeats
Line 1 and 2
Although its meaning is deep, this poem is short and
simple to understand.
Imagine here in the first lines that the poet had a marvelous piece of cloth made in heaven that was beautifully woven with gold and silver strands of light.
Line 3 and 4
The gold and silver light are interwoven with
the beautiful blues of the sky at morning and
noon and night.
Here the poet uses alliteration and assonance when he mentions:
The blue and the
and the d
and the half-l
Line 5 and 6
If the poet had such a cloth, he would lay it under the feet of the person he loved. Imagine laying a work of art under someone’s feet.
But the poet is poor, and he doesn’t have anything like this cloth. In fact, he has nothing except his own dreams.
Line 7 and 8
So he lays his dreams at the feet of the person he loves, and he asks that the person tread lightly on his dreams, as lightly as she would on a beautiful heavenly cloth.
Think about how valuable someone’s hopes and dreams are and why it would be important to be careful how we walked on them.
He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
Although this poem is short, it is imaginatively rich and literally colourful as we have seen by your homework last night.
While the title of the poem is in the third person 'He', Yeats speaks in the first person 'I' throughout the poem. He talks about his own experiences.
In line 5 he then mentions his love interest.
Why is this poem popular?
This is a very romantic poem as Yeats is saying that he wants to give her the best in the world.
He shows her this by creating beautiful descriptions throughout.
He does not speak of 'heaven' in a religious sense but rather 'the heavens', suggesting the sky's beauty instead.
The poets ability to describe beauty is also seen when he describes the 'embroidered cloths' that he would give her if he was rich.
While he is telling her all of the things that she deserves he immediately confesses that he is poor.
His confession of financial poverty only highlights the richness of his imagination and how much he loves her.
This also shows how vulnerable he is.
Question 1. What gift does the speaker wish he had to give?
Question 2. Gold and silver are precious metals. List some of the objects that can be made from them.
Question 3. Why can he not send her expensive gifts?
Yeats uses a lot of repetition in the poem. Write down three examples that you think are important and why you think they are important.
What do you think the theme of the poem is. Look at the images in the poem to help you. Write down a reason as to why you think this is the theme of the poem.
Do you feel sorry for Yeats? Do you think he will win the heart of the girl he is talking to?
Question 1. What might 'the heavens' embroidered cloths be?
Question 2. There is something unusual about the rhyming in this poem. What do you notice?
Question 3. What is he asking for in the final line?
Question 4. In your opinion, which of these words best describes how he is feeling?
- worried - optimistic - lovesick - excited