T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats and D.H. Lawrence:
How love is combined with a sense of frustration and fear
Márcio Hemerique Pereira
(Department of Arts and Humanities, University of Minho, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal)
Poetry should be great and unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one's soul, and does not startle it or amaze it with itself, but with its subject.
This is an essay analyzing and comparing the works of three different poets and the poems used in this essay are about love in relation to a sense of frustration and fear. We will give an overview on the works of the following poets D. H. Lawrence, W. B. Yeats, and T. S. Elliott in order to make the essay more comprehensive.
We will use the following concepts in order to demonstrate the analysis and the comparison of frustration and fear within the poems: the fantasy idea, the imagery and symbol, subjective reflections and the analysis of women as icon of seduction, passion, and love. A conclusion will end the essay identifying the key points discussed.
Love is indeed a part of every human life. The topic of love is widely used to different kind of writing in order to demonstrate the emotional circumstance of a person. Love has been a subject of different poems that evocatively describes the result of a poet’s extremely personal emotional experience. However, the use of love as a subject is so encompassing that understanding every man’s work will mean having empathy to each individual who wrote it. In addition, the emotions of the poets were not transparent; hence, difficulty in looking at their emotions is inevitable.
D. H. Lawrence, W. B. Yeats, and T. S. Elliot made the subject poems of this essay, illustrating how love is combined with a sense of frustration and fear. The three poets were considered as modernist on the way they wrote and expressed themselves.
The aforementioned authors have put modernism in the comprehensive and inwardly conflicted sense as evidenced in their writings. In order to illustrate the modernity of these authors, several of the poems they have created were used in this essay in order that the readers have a more comprehensive approach. The poems will be treated in relation to the modernity of the authors and the way they perceived love to contain elements of frustration and fear.
Modernity of poems means that the poems should be treated as it is and no further interpretation is necessary. We noticed that the modern poets did not use the structural form of poems, however, the way modern poets used their words in expressing their feelings are of a dramatic proportion.
Studying traditional poems requires a number of historical background especially the setting and the real situation of the poet while writing the poems. An example would be the works of Shakespeare. Shakespeare wrote his writings in manner subject to number of criticisms and comments from the people. Although, his writings were considered as the best source for educational readings, understanding his works requires a number of heavy thinking and various researches. With poetry, not only does the reader have to contend with grasping historical context and the depth of the emotion expressed, but also has to understand these through the poet’s use of metaphors, similes, fantasy imagery and at times, complex linguistics.
On the other hand, the essence of modern poems is to communicate complex ideas and thoughts on several levels, in order to be grasped by a variety of readers, and leaving space for multiple interpretations. To illustrate further the modernism on poems, the following subtopics were laid down in order that the readers will be able to grasp the real essence of modern poems.
II FROM ANALYSIS TO COMPARISON
The techniques used by poets in order to make their poem a success is the use of imagery and symbols. Reading comprehension is not easy; however, if written in a poem, the latter has a life. Using symbols allows the readers to develop the meaning of the poem and relate this to their own experiences with love. According to Lewis (1974), poetic image is the picture made out of words. Imagery creates a difference for the readers, giving them a place where their mind can travel as they read the poem. The poets, subject to our study, have demonstrated the use of these techniques in their poems.
D. H. Lawrence writings for instance were so emotional that you can easily visualize the pain or whatever emotion he had been through. The emotions of the author can be derived by reading between the lines of his poems making him appear to be vulnerable to any heartache or happiness that love may brought into his life. There is a feeling of remorse in the way he used words on his poems. Let’s have a closer look.
On his poem entitled “On that Day”, he used roses as a symbol on how the people will be able to remember the woman that passed away. The remembrance of the people on the way the woman has lived her life. A rose has been used many times throughout literature to symbolize a range of topics from unique beauty (Shakespeare, “does a rose by any other name smell as sweet”) to tainted love (Wordsworth’s The Thorn “A wretched thing forlorn.”). “On that day / I shall put roses on roses, and cover your grave / With multitude of white roses: and since you were brave / One bright red ray. / So people, passing under / The ash-trees of the valley-road, will raise.” Readers would be able to relate this imagery to their own sensations of love. In the use of the Rose, the element of fear within love is clear. Roses are not only highly sought after, as is a beautiful loving relationship, but also have a limited lifespan, highlighting the fear of loss and decay within love. He used the word ‘queen’ to demonstrate how special the woman was to him. It seems clear the woman was of great beauty and radiance that being ‘queen’ she was, has left a number of mourns for him not to ignore. He also made it known to the people around him how special the woman was and must never be taken for granted because of what she has offered to him. This also highlights the frustration Lawrence must have felt, as “Queen” has connotations of a woman who is above him, unreachable, unobtainable, to be gazed upon but never touched. “A queen, they’ll say, / Has slept unnoticed on a forgotten hill./ Sleeps on unknown, unnoticed there, until / Dawns my insurgent day.”
 The difficulty of poetry (and modern poetry is supposed to be difficult) may be due to one of several reasons. First, there may be personal causes which make it impossible for a poet to express himself in anyway but an obscure way; while this may be regrettable, we should be glad, I think, that the man has been able to express himself at all. Or difficulty may be due to novelty: we know the ridicule accorded in turn to Wordsworth, Shelley and Keats, Tennyson and Browning – but must remark that Browning was the first to be called difficult; hostile critics of the earlier poets found them difficult, but called them silly. Or difficulty may be caused by the reader’s having been told, or having suggested to himself, that the poem is going to prove difficult. (27) – Modern Poetry (27-30) in Eliot on Poetry, Criticism and His Own Work. Quoted from Brian Charles Southam (ed.), 1987. T. S. Eliot, ‘Prufrock’, ‘Gerontion’, ‘Ash Wednesday’ and other Shorter Poems. A Selection of Critical Essays.
 Modernism has been defined as a rejection of traditional 19th-century norms, whereby artists, architects, poets and thinkers either altered or abandoned earlier conventions in an attempt to re-envision a society in flux. In literature this included a progression from objectivist optimism to cynical relativism expressed through fragmented free verse containing complex, and often contradictory, allusions, multiple points of view and other poetic devices that broke from the forms in Victorian and Romantic writing.
 Lawrence's poems are blunt, exasperating, imposing upon us his strangely hectic, strangely delicate music, in fragments, in tantalizing broken-off parts of a whole too vast to be envisioned—and then withdrawing again. They are meant to be spontaneous works, spontaneously experienced; they are not meant to give us the sense of grandeur or permanence that other poems attempt, the fallacious sense of immortality that is an extension of the poet's ego. Yet they achieve a kind of immortality precisely in this: that they transcend the temporal, the intellectual. They are ways of experiencing the ineffable "still point" that Eliot could approach only through abstract language. In Joyce Carol Oates, The Hostile Sun: The Poetry of D.H. Lawrence. A two-part essay, originally published in: American Poetry Review, November-December (1972) and The Massachusetts Review, Winter (1973).
 ‘On that day / I shall put roses on roses, and cover your grave / With multitude of white roses: and since you were brave / One bright red ray. / So people, passing under / The ash-trees of the valley-road, will raise / Their eyes and look at the grave on the hill, in wonder, / Wondering mount, and put the flowers asunder / To see whose praise / Is blazoned here so white and so bloodily red. / Then they will say: “’Tis long since she is dead, / Who has remembered her after many days?” / And standing there / They will consider how you went your ways / Unnoticed among them, a still queen lost in the maze / Of this earthly affair. / A queen, they’ll say, / Has slept unnoticed on a forgotten hill./ Sleeps on unknown, unnoticed there, until / Dawns my insurgent day.’
- Quote paper
- MA Marcio Hemerique Pereira (Author), 2009, T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats and D.H. Lawrence: How Love is combined with a sense of Frustration and Fear, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/153429