William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats Poems

William Butler Yeats was one of the most important poets of the 20th century. He passed away in January 1939 after a career in prose, drama, and poetry. His work was incredibly influential in Ireland as well as around the world. Read more about William Butler Yeats.

A Coat

by William Butler Yeats

‘A Coat’ by William Butler Yeats describes the poet’s own writing practice through the metaphor of an embroidered coat that is stolen and used by others.

A Dream of Death

by William Butler Yeats

‘A Dream of Death’ is a poem about one such dream that uses strong imagery to build an image that is touching both with and without its historic context.

A Prayer for my Daughter

by William Butler Yeats

 ‘A Prayer for my Daughter’ by William Butler Yeats speaks about the poet’s family. It demonstrates his concern and anxiety over the future wellbeing and prospects of his daughter, Anne.

A Prayer For My Son

by William Butler Yeats

‘A Prayer for my Son,’ written from the perspective of a father who wants to protect his son against all odds during the brewing war in Ireland. Read the poem with a complete analysis.

Adam’s Curse

by William Butler Yeats

‘Adam’s Curse’ was published in 1904 in Yeats’s poetic collection In the Seven Woods. The poem explores themes of writing,

Among School Children

by William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats wrote this poem, ‘Among School Children,’ most probably in 1926 after his visit in that year to a progressive convent school at Waterfront, St. Otteran’s School.

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

by William Butler Yeats

After losing his dear friend in World War I, William Butler Yeats wrote this particular poem, ‘An Irish Airman Foresees His Death. Robert Gregory, an Irish Airman, was accidentally shot down by an Italian Aviator, who happened to be a dear friend of Yeats.

Brown Penny

by William Butler Yeats

‘Brown Penny’ by William Butler Yeats is an expression of the various levels of honest “love” that follow us from birth to death.


by William Butler Yeats

‘Byzantium’ by W. B. Yeats deliberates on the poet’s experiences of being in Byzantium. It describes the process of entering the afterlife.

Easter, 1916

by William Butler Yeats

‘Easter, 1916’ is a reflection on the events surrounding the Easter Rising, an armed insurrection that began in Dublin on Easter Monday, April 24, 1916.

In Memory of Major Robert Gregory

by William Butler Yeats

‘In Memory of Major Robert Gregory’ by William Butler Yeats is a twelve stanza poem that is separated into sets

Now that we're almost settled in our house

I'll name the friends that cannot sup with us

Beside a fire of turf in th' ancient tower,

Leda and the Swan

by William Butler Yeats

Published in Yeats’ collection of Later Poems in 1926, ‘Leda and the Swan’ is a sonnet based on a myth from Greek mythology. According to Greek myth, Leda was the mother of mankind.


by William Butler Yeats

‘Meru’ by William Butler Yeats describes the illusion of civilization and the importance of embarking on a spiritual journey.

No Second Troy

by William Butler Yeats

The twelve-line poem, ‘No Second Troy,’ is addressed to Maud Gonne, who, to Yeats’s great distress, married John MacBride in 1903.


by William Butler Yeats

‘Politics’ by William Butler Yeats is the last lyric poem Yeats wrote. It alludes to wars around the world including World War II which was to begin the year after this poem was written. 

Sailing to Byzantium

by William Butler Yeats

Yeats’ poems are continually referenced in popular culture, including the poem ‘Sailing to Byzantium’. Its first line, “That is no country for old men…” was used for the title of Cormac McCarthy’s popular novel, “No Country for Old Men,” later adapted for the big screen.

The Cap and Bells

by William Butler Yeats

‘The Cap and Bells’ highlights that in situations of infatuation and love, one person sacrifices their existence just to be recognized and maybe even loved.

The Fisherman

by William Butler Yeats

‘The Fisherman’ by W.B. Yeats depicts the author’s conception of an ideal reader. W.B.Yeats imagines a simple, but wise, man

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

by William Butler Yeats

‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’ takes the reader through a speaker’s fantastical daydream to leave their world behind for the peace that nature brings.

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.