Charles Harper

Modern poetry 306

Fragments by Yeats



LOCKE sank into a swoon;

The Garden died;

God took the spinning-jenny

Out of his side.


Where got I that truth?

Out of a medium’s mouth.

Out of nothing it came,

Out of the forest loam,

Out of dark night where lay

The crowns of Nineveh.

A true modernist delight, at first glance I have no idea what the agenda of this poem is.  After reading it a couple of times, I found it be cool because a poem this small required some research to see the platform in which it was created but still no complete guidance as to what the poem means. One of John LOCKE ‘S principles in a famous essay he wrote concerning Human Understanding (1690) he argued that all knowledge is derived from sense-experience. These small details are what gives modernist poetry a special place in history. The poem question where the so-called truth is coming from. The very things we base our live on is at question from Locke’s philosophy to God’s choice to make industry. Fascinating indeed what fragments we choose to make solid ideas out of.