Naru's Happy Travel
DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.14354/yjk.1999.11.237
시적 자아의 자기성찰 과정: 예이츠의 『최후의 시편들』(2)
한국외국어대학교
The Poetic Self in the Process of Self-Meditation: Yeats’s Last Poems (II)
,

Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
Abstract
Yeats remarked, two years before his death, that it is the poets’ first business to describe desirable persons, desirable places, and states of mind. One of theses excellent persons and places in Last Poems―ascetics and the “half-way house” the Chinamen of “Lapis Lazuli” climb towards. Here we notice how many topographical associations lay everywhere: “the mountain,” “Alt” and the central character climbing some high point. Having lifted himself to the vantage point of age, Yeats is able to form a final altitude. The last poems are mainly set in the location of the open field, that dominates the poetic landscape.
‘The whole system’ of A Vision ‘is founded upon the belief that ultimate realit y falls in human consciousness into a series of antinomies.’ Since he had long arranged his thought and disciplined his imagination by ideas of antithesis, it is natural that his later work should play out an extended series of oppositions: knowledge and ignorance; day and night; time and eternity. In the process of consciousness they have a tendency to be separated from each other into various sets of the opposite; while their attendant logic characterizes a struggle towards harmony. ‘Logical and emotional conflicts alike lead towards a reality which is concrete, sensuous and bodily.’
“Meru” invokes an image of human being in conflict with the cyclicity of a cosmic rhythm. Yeats, identified with the oriental hermits in the ascetic attitude to life, sees “the naked bodies” to awake to the realities of life, he is reassured that the higher perception should be gained through their sensuous experiences in the darkness of night. According to St. John of Cross, ‘the nature of the soul requires complete renunciation of the world.’ The darkness brings wisdom, emptiness sight. Yeats would describe it as ‘the luminous dark.’ This implies in ‘via negativa’ that one is nothing, paradoxically, to become everything. The open region for everything is the place Heidegger called ‘clairi?re,’ which Yeats would like to paint in his poetry. Its openness let brightness play with darkness in it.
The relation to light and darkness characterizes as ‘a double’ like the dawn image. This curious relation Adams claims to name ‘identity.’ Identity has the same form, as does a metaphorical trope, where sameness and difference coexist in language. He would write a poem ‘cold and passionate as the dawn.’ The important metaphor, which Yeats uses to describe the intersection of the two worlds, is that of dawn.
In this paper I was concerned with both the realm where religion, art, personal consciousness converge and the place in which gathers and protects everything. Yeats was life long a man who practiced both absolute integrity of craft and perfection of personality, the perfection of its surrender. I take poetry to be an exploration of human consciousness, where it faces time and eternity in their play. Equally it is an exploration of words.

 



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