The men admiring themselves on the water

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4 March 2016

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I have really been fascinated when I read William B. Yeats’ poem named “The Old Men Admiring Themselves In The water” which seems too short but includes more than what it looks in terms of meaning. Here, I tried to analyze his great but seeming little poem in terms of the physical characteristics of the poem,literary devices used in poem , emotions I have been felt by these literary devices,meaning of the poem and finally Why I chose this poem to analyze . Firstly ,I analyzed the rhyme scheme of poem as a only stanza and I found it one of the most unfamiliar rhyme scheme I have ever seen.The rhyme scheme is abaccbac which dissimilar to other works we studied on up to now.The meter is also different from what we have seen. While the third,fourth,fifth and seventh lines are written in iambic tetrameter ,the first lines have nothing in common but the sixth and the last line has a common meter which we call dimeter.I actually do not know what to call for meter used in the poem . Secondly ,As I mentioned above the poem has hidden meaning or message that poet gives us via literary devices.We can see aliteration,metaphor and similes used in poem with ease.The first literary device I found is the usage of hands and kness as claws and old thorn trees that similes used to give that resemblance.

I actually did not still understand how they are similar to each other for the similarity of claws and hands but I think the usage of old thorn trees and knees is clear for me to understand that the poet emphasized on what happens to trees and kness by the time.As time passes people get older and they get to be twisted like the old trees . The second literary device is a metaphor of time in the sixth line, the water refers to time as it is used as a continued progress that makes people like twisted old thorn trees and which changes everything .And I am not sure whether it is a metaphor or not but I think the word “beautiful”refers to youth that is drifting away and leading people become old by time .Finally the last literary device used for poem is aliteration which we can see in the first line as the repetition of “d” sound ,the fourth line as the repetiton of “s” sounds in the final letters of “hands,claws and knees” ,in the same line aslo the repetiton of “h”sound in initial letters of “had” and “hands” and finally the repetiton of “t” sound in the fifth line of poem.

In addition to literary devices and the physical characteristics of the poem ,I think the literary devices used in the poem affected my reading a lot as reading such a short and meaningfull poem without emotions would be nonsense and literary devices are providing the meaning in the poem.Without understanding what water ,beautifull,being old mean ,it would be like a reading of brochures handed out outside everyday .Anyway, literary devices made me eager to read.To clarify what I mean ,at least the usage of simile of knees and old threes made me ask this question “What kind of words did he use for such a situation ?”.The similes helped me to understand What poet means and leaded me to imagine scene which we are to see. As a response of What poem means, I think the poet tried and succeded to tell readers( at least me) that youth is good but we all alter and drop one by one by time and there is no cure for it .The poet might have written this poem in his old age as he reminds us how beautiful is the youth or life but it does not last forever by his poem.The poem also melancholic tone which may feel us the sadness the poet felt.

The word “old” is used four times to emphasize that he is old or may be waiting to die by telling reader “and one by one we drop away”. Before concluding the analysis, I chose that poem as I like it and the imageries hidden in the words and the meaning .The other homework options’s topics did not grap my attention as one of them was our group’s presentation task which you gave the answer of questions existed after presentation was over.Anyway, while I was skimming the poems for the first option ,this poem took my attention as it was too short which is even shorter than the vocabulary list you gave at the bottom and I wondered What makes it special to have place in this book ,decided to read it so What I mean is that I tried to analyze this poem as I just wondered .The thing make me amazed at was the smallness of poem and what this shortness felt me. To summarize , “The Old Men Admiring Themselves In The water” poem includes many imageries and a meaning that is really like a complaint about Why we are getting older and dying and I tried to give a brief analysis of poem in the shortness of poem in terms of literary meaning and devices.

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"The men admiring themselves on the water" StudyScroll, Mar 4, 2016.

"The men admiring themselves on the water" StudyScroll, 4-Mar-2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 6-Dec-2023]

StudyScroll. (2016). The men admiring themselves on the water. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 6-Dec-2023]

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