The Song of Wandering Aengus Poem by W. B. Yeats | Summary

W B Yeats Offline thinker
I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
Source: The Wind Among the Reeds (1899)
Taken From: Poem Foundation


Short Summary:

This is a symbolic poem by W.B. Yeats that deals with his passion for his folk tale. In his poem he uses Greek methodology and his own passion for his unfulfilled love with Maud Gonne. He combines the physical passion and his vision of supernatural quality.

Through Aengus, the poet expresses his passion for love. In the 1st stanza, speaker goes to a hazzled wood in search of passion. He cuts a branch of hazzle and makes it a wand. Then he ties a tread with a berry to its tip. Then he goes to a stream as it falls dawn, he sees many moths flying around him and the stars twinkling in the sky. When he dips the wand in the water a silver trout is caught. Here we can interpret that trout is a symbol of his love and it is fulfillment of his goal.

In the 2nd stanza, speaker puts the fish on the floor and goes to make the fire in order to cook the fish but he is surprised to see the trout moving on the floor. Moreover, he hears someone calling his name then suddenly the trout changes into a glimmering girl wearing apple flower in her hair. After that the strange girl disappears. It implies that there is combination of reality and imagination. Imagination remains permanently in our mind but the reality is temporary thing. It remains only for short time.

In the third stanza, the speaker grows old. But he doesn’t lose his hope searching for the beloved. He travels every corner of the world in search of her. He believes that one day he will find her and consummate his love with her. He will kiss her lips, take her hand and move freely through the nature. They will continue until they are alive. In this way, there is harmony and reconciliation between two hearts. He symbolically writes silver apples of the moon for his beloved and golden apples of sun for himself refers for the union. Here we can interpret that he might have referred to the old genesis of bible in which apples were forbidden to eat by human beings because they arouse the desire of sex.

From the poem, we can interpret a lot of meanings. Here, the poet presents his unfulfilled desire for his love. As he can’t get his love physically, he take the help of spiritualism and imagination. Glimmering girl symbolizes his psyche. This psychological threat is manifested through his imagination. If anyone has strong desire of getting something that is unutterable, he/she takes help of supernatural thought. As the poet had for his beloved Maud Gonne.


Read More English poem collection:

English Poem | Rainy Morning | Sushant Thapa




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