He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

By: William Butler Yeats

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths, 1

Enwrought with golden and silver light, 2

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths 3

Of night and light and the half-light, 4

I would spread the cloths under your feet: 5

But I, being poor, have only my dreams; 6

I have spread my dreams under your feet; 7

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. 8

Theme: Generosity

The theme of this poem is generosity because the poet writes about how he wants to five the reader "heavens' embroidered cloths," but he can only give his dreams because he is a poor man. The poet, William Butler, is trying to inspire someone he cares about by saying that if he could he would give the reader anything possible. But in reality, since Butler cannot possibly give the reader everything he wants to, he gives the reader dreams. Butler wants the reader to have dreams so they can grow and prosper to attain everything they want in life to be happy. Butler wants the reader to amount for more than anything he has ever been. This is why the common theme of the poem is generosity, because the poet is selfless.

Epistrophe: Repetition of the ends of two or more successive sentences, verses, etc.

Example One: The first line and the third line both end with the word "cloth." This word is repeated because the poet , Butler, wants to emphasize the connection between cloths and dreams, creating them as one.

Example Two: The phrase "under your feet" is repeated lines five and seven because Butler is showing that since the clothes are spread so are the dreams; the dreams are the most valuable thing can the loved one can have and the poet is comparing them to the cloths from heaven because those would be extremely valued also.

Example Three: The poet repeats the section "my dreams" in lines six and eight because the poet wants to emphasize that the poet is indeed pushing his dreamed on his loved one but by doing that the loved one is creating their own dreams to reach; this is ultimately what the poet wants,

Symbol: An object or action that means more than its literally meaning

Example One: The most obvious symbol found in this poem is "heavens' embroidered cloths." These cloths, found in line one and three, represent the dreams later read about in the poem. The poet is using symbolism to emphasize how important dreams are. He's saying that dreams are as important as items that cant even be realistically attained, like cloths from heaven.

Example Two: When the poet writes about spreading cloths and dreams under feet it is actually symbolism (found in lines five and seven). The poet is not actually spreading anything under anyone's feet but is explaining that he is giving someone dreams and helping to inspire them.

Example Three: Line four "of night and light and half lit" represents symbolism because the poet is trying to portray that he is constantly working every single day on inspiring others and sharing his dreams of giving everyone else their own dreams to work for.

Apostrophe: an address to a person absent or dead or to an abstract identity

Example One: An apostrophe can be found in lines one, five, six, and seven. In these lines the poet mentions "I" this is an apostrophe because the reader can take "I" as themselves as they read the poem, or as the poet writing about himself; this causes "I'' to be abstract.

Example Two: Found in lines five, seven, and eight are the words "your" and "you" which are also abstract identities, making it an apostrophe, because the reader could interpret the poem in many different ways. The reader could think when the poet says "you" or "your" that he is talking directly to the reader, or the reader could think of the "you" as someone the poet knows and cares about.
Example Three: The last apostrophe can be found in line one when the poet writes about the heavens. Because the reader is not aware of the poet's religion it's impossible to differentiate who and what the heavens are. They, or the place, could be interpreted as a Christian Heaven with only God but also as an infinite amount of other religions; like a Buddhist God or multiple Roman and Greek Gods are examples of such.


Why I liked this poem...

I enjoyed reading this poem because it has a happy tone to it. I liked that it make me look for a deeper meaning and contemplate what the poem was actually saying; it made me think at a higher level.