The Cold Heaven- W.B.Yeats

  • Created by: Natasha
  • Created on: 07-05-13 18:43



  • Yeats is criticising heaven and questioning faith
  • He questions existance & heaven 
  • Yeats presents Maud as his heaven 


  • Maud Gonne- can't escape her and still has strong feelings towards her (unfulfilled desire) 
  • Metaphysical Poem- questions God/heaven/external world. 
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Language and Imagery

"Suddenly"- Explosive, immediate opening, drawn into poem, revelation. 

"Ice Burned"- Oxymoron/opposites, sounds torturous as both are extreme temperatures being explored. His passion and lust has been cooled and his heart is left frozen/cold. Links with 'Easter 1916' ("a terrible beauty is born") and ''The Cat and the Moon' where oxymorons are used - represents that some relationships cannot work because they are too irreconcilable/conflictng. 

"With hot blood of youth"- Unfulfilled sexual desire keeps him young in feelings even though he should be over this. 

"Memories"- Links with The Man and the Echo; makes us think of regret. Yeats is regretful for not consuming his love for Maud Gonne. 

"love crossed long ago"- Romeo and Juliet, 'star crossed lovers', suggests he has moved on from this point and is over Maud Gonne. 

"Untill I cried and trembled and rocked to and fro" - Triple emphasis & active verbs suggest breaking. Yeats has lost mentality/sanity/rationality. 

Ends with rhetorical question- questions faith- will he have a purgatorial punishment. Similar to Leda and the Swan, Among Schoolchildren, The Second Coming. 

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Verse Form

- Rhyme is erractic and inconsistent like Yeats' thought- the poem is like a whirling mass of emotion. 

- Irregular rhyme indicates confusion/doubt/fear and suggests unrelating pain that he cant escape Maud. 

- The first sentence is extremely long and represents a continuous stream of consciousness. 

- Enjambment used to create a continuous flow and reflects the rush of thought that is the result of a revelation. 

- Ends with a rhetorical questiong much like many of Yeats others poems- he does not provide answers but only creates more questions through his poems. 

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