An Irish Airman Foresees His Death
-The poem was written in 1918 and first published in the Macmillan edition The Wild Swans at Coole in 1919.
-The poem is a soliloquy given by an aviator in the First World War in which the poet describes the circumstances surrounding his imminent death.
-The poem is a work of Irish Nationalism that discusses the role of Irish soldiers fighting for the United Kingdom during a time when they were trying to establish independence for Ireland
-Yeates restrained publishing political poems during the war and witheld publication until after the war
-The airman in the poem is believed to be Major Robert Gregory who was a friend of Yeates and the only child of Lady Augusta Gregory
-Yeats uses this poem to portray both emotional and intellectual aspects of the aviator’s choice to fly.
-The repetition of the word “clouds” on the second and twelfth lines of the stanza bookends the aviator’s resolve; he was driven by a “lonely impulse of delight.”
-The poem is paradox and has some reference to a reflection of war itself, the aftermath and effects it has on certain people and the surroundings, adding to this there is almost questioning of why there is creation when there is destruction
-The aviator that Yeates writes as in the first person , is convinced this flight is his last and he questions why he has chosen to fly , he flies for different reasons than most and not out of sense of duty or patriotism
-The poem contains 16 lines of text that is arranged in iambic tetrameter
-It has four grouped quatrains of alternating rhymes : ABABCDCDEFEFGHGH, or four repetitions of the basic ABAB scheme utilizing different rhymes.
-Words were chosen carefully by Yeates to fit the rhyme scheme and make it more appealling to the reader with the attempt to stress every second syllable.
When researching the poem I also found another wordpress blogger that is not part of our English Lit class who also has very helpful notes on the poem his url is “http://movehimintothesun.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/an-irish-airman-foresees-his-death-w-b-yeats/“