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Friday, March 21, 2014

Poetry Friday--"A Coat"

For today, I have an interesting little poem by W. B. Yeats, about something he MADE, and yes, the "made" part is all in caps, just as if he were shouting it!

A Coat
by William Butler Yeats

I MADE my song a coat
Covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat;
But the fools caught it,
Wore it in the world's eyes
As though they'd wrought it.
Song, let them take it,
For there's more enterprise
In walking naked.

Found in Poems to Read: A New Favorite Poem Project Anthology [808.81 POE], as well as in several collected works of Yeats found in 821 YEA.

This is an interesting poem that is definitely open to different interpretations. And I believe it is a poem about interpretation, itself. Yeats' song is misinterpreted and misappropriated by others who think they know what he is saying. For him, it is better to be unclothed than to be covered in others' misconceptions.

I think "A Coat" would be a good choice for a discussion, if only discussion groups for poems were as common as they are for books.

The Poetry Friday Round-Up for today is being held at The Drift Record.

Illustrations by Jack B. Yeats from Irish Fairy Tales edited by W. B. Yeats [1892].


  1. Yeats is one of my favorite poets, but I'm as fond of his early poetry that is "Covered with embroideries/Out of old mythologies." I think your interpretation is absolutely correct. Thank you for sharing!

  2. I'm pleased that you like it, Catherine! What's your favorite Yeats poem?