The Cold Heaven

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The Cold Heaven

·         Ambiguous poem- suggests enlightenment and revelation in life and punishment after death, shows an element of disillusionment

o   It ends with a rhetorical question, similar to Leda and the Swan, Among Schoolchildren, and The Second Coming. Yeats does not provide answers through his poetry, only more questions.

·         Made up of Alexandrines woven into free verse, reflecting order with chaos. By blending the two opposites Yeats reflects his own confusions about the afterlife.

·         Enjambment ‘Suddenly I saw the cold and rook-delighting heaven/ That seemed as though ice burned and was but the more ice,’ the continuous flow of words seems like a stream-of-consciousness. It also reflects the rush of thought that is the result of a revelation

·         Use of the word suddenly pitches the reader straight into the poem – in media res.  Creates a sense of urgency.

·         Life and death

o   Ice burned/cold heaven/injustice of the skies- oxymoronic, how can heaven be cold/indifferent? It should be a place of warmth and love? Suggests heaven is not a just place, criticism. Negative view of the afterlife. Ice burned sounds torturous- both extremes of temperature simultaneously

o   ‘rook-delighting’ – omen of death. This contrasts with heaven to make us even more confused as to how good or bad the afterlife is.


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