• Hridya Chaudhary

A Circle in my Palm - Byzantium by W. B. Yeats

























He expresses that he wants to be unattainable when he dies. I believe he’s trying to convey that he wants to leave the human realm altogether and be like a golden bird carved by Grecian goldsmiths. I do not quite agree with him. On one hand, he wants to offer up everything he has in him and never return to the human body, on the other hand, he talks about being stuck as a golden bird. Why not attain salvation if one’s anyway giving himself up trying to let me know about the fact that everything is a circle? I believe this holds true for the entire universe as well. It was born from the big bang, it is going to end with a big bang. Everything that we know will cease to exist when the apocalypse comes. He also mentions living in the present moment by comparing life to musical beats. What really baffles me is that we cannot really document a present moment; it simply exists.

To me this feels like a treasure box, a rigid outer layer with strict boundaries but with a skillfully hidden life-awakening treasure. Since Yeats is directly talking to me, it’s as if I’m the one opening the Pandora’s box to discover some secrets.


I believe Byzantium is another-worldly “country” where souls go after their death. A secret place only a few, who terribly love art, know about. Yeats lets me know that the Earth is no place to exist for those whose vessel has reached a stage of death and corrosion. The rule of nature states, it doesn’t matter if you’re a fish or if your skin is rotten, you have to die. Its written in the Gita, your body dies, leaving your soul behind. Yeats is trying to let me know about the fact that everything is a circle. I believe this holds true for the entire universe as well. It was born from the big bang, it is going to end from the big bang. Everything that we know will cease to exist when the apocalypse comes. He also mentions living in the present moment by comparing life to musical beats. What really baffles me is that we cannot really document a present moment, it exists.


He expresses that he wants to be unattainable when he dies. I believe he’s trying to convey that he wants to leave the human realm altogether and be like a golden bird carved by Grecian goldsmiths. I do not quite agree with him. On one hand, he wants to offer up everything he has in him and never return to the human body, on the other hand, he talks about being stuck as a golden bird. Why not attain salvation? If one’s anyway giving himself up trying to let me know about the fact that everything is a circle. I believe this holds for the entire universe as well. It was born from the big bang, it is going to end from the big bang. Everything that we know will cease to exist when the apocalypse comes. He also mentions living in the present moment by comparing life to musical beats. What really baffles me is that we cannot really document a present moment, it exists.


Referring to the mosaics in San Apollinaire Nuovo, he calls on to the Gods of art to come and inspire him. He sounds almost meditative as he yearns to be motivated. Even I need a trigger to set my heart going. I believe he wants the overwhelming surge of power to consume him fully without leaving a speck of his heart and soul behind. He wants the vortex to replace the matter inside his vessel and aid him to achieve eternity. I love the powerful imagery associated with his lines. It almost feels like he is sacrificing himself by offering the art he has to contribute including the source of where the art comes from.

He expresses that he wants to be unattainable when he dies. I believe he’s trying to convey that he wants to leave the human realm altogether and be like a golden bird carved by Grecian goldsmiths. I do not quite agree with him. On one hand, he wants to offer up everything he has in him and never return to the human body, on the other hand, he talks about being stuck as a golden bird. Why not attain salvation? If one’s anyway giving himself up for art, why stay? Why trap one’s soul again and find a new purpose again? Maybe, the fact that everything is a circle applies here as well. Maybe, one’s soul never escapes. Maybe, even after you find your purpose to provide for art, you are meant to stay here as art.


Byzantium retrieved from - poetryfoundation.org

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