Thinking about the Poem
I. 1.What kind of place is Innisfree? Think about.
- the three things the poet wants to do when he goes back there (stanza I);
- what he hears and sees there and its effect on him (stanza II);
- what he hears in his “heart’s core” even when he is far away from Innisfree (stanza III).
- The poet wants to return to Innisfree – a peaceful and tranquil place- where he can build a small cabin of clay and wattles to live in. He says that he will grow nine rows of beans and keep a hive with honey bees. He also intends to live alone in the open space listening to the sound of the bees.
- The poet says that he will experience a sense of peace in Innisfree, which will come to him slowly in the morning mist and will stay with him till the time crickets start to sing. It would come to him through the soft light of midnight, the purple glow of the afternoon and the sound of the linnets’ wings in the evenings.
- Even when he is away from Innisfree, he can hear in his heart’s core the sound of the water lapping against the shore of the lake.
2. By now you may have concluded that Innisfree is a simple, natural place, full of beauty and peace. How does the poet contrast it with where he now stands? (Read stanza III.)
Innisfree is a simple, natural and a beautiful place full of peace and tranquility which the poet compares to the noisy city.The poet longs for the simplicity of Innisfree and fondly recollects the sounds of lake water lapping away at the shore.
He compares this peaceful sound to the noise he experiences as he stands on the roadway or the grey pavements of the city.He also contrasts the colours of Innisfree (“the purple glow’ “a glimmer“) to the grey, dull pavements of the city.
He therefore wants to leave the noise of the city behind and return to the calm beauty of Innisfree.
3. Do you think Innisfree is only a place, or a state of mind? Does the poet actually miss the place of his boyhood days?
Although Innisfree is actually a place where the poet spent his childhood, it could also be a symbol of ‘peace’ for the poet. It could represent his state of mind. Nature provides an atmosphere of peace and tranquility in Innisfree.
His longing for Innisfree could in fact be a longing for his own sanity. Yes, the poet is tired of the noisy city life and misses the peace of Innisfree- the place where he had spent a lot of time as a boy. To him, Innisfree is the ideal place where peace drops slowly from the mist in the mornings and stays with him till dusk.
The sights and sounds of the lake keep calling him back to a simple life away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
II. 1. Look at the words the poet uses to describe what he sees and hears at Innisfree
- bee-loud glade
- evenings full of the linnet’s wings
- lake water lapping with low sounds
What pictures do these words create in your mind?
- Bee-loud glade- These words create a picture of an open space filled with the buzzing of bees.
- Evenings full of the linnets’ wings- These words bring to our minds the image of linnets flying around in the evening sky. .. It also creates an auditory imagery of the pleasing sound of birds’ wings.
- Lake water lapping with low sounds- These words create a idyllic picture in our minds as well as conjure up the low sound of the waters of the lake as they gently lap against the shore.
Look at these words;
… peace comes dropping slow Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings What do these words mean to you? What do you think “comes dropping slow…from the veils of the morning”?
What does “to where the cricket sings” mean?
The line “comes dropping slow…from the veils of the morning” means that in a tranquil place like Innisfree peace can be found naturally in the surroundings. The mornings veiled with mist bring a picture of calmness and tranquility to the mind of the reader.
Crickets usually chirp at dusk, so the line “to where the cricket sings” could mean the evening hours. The poet means peace would continue to come to him even as the crickets begin to sing.
Together, they portray a sylvan picture characterized by peace. These lines could also represent the mental state the poet longs for.