The poem “Politics” by W.B. Yeats is about the supremacy of love over political intrigues. It is an expression of Yeat’s rejection of the world of political activities in the presence of the beautiful girl. According to the poet, politics is a center of schemes, bloodshed, revolution, and human misery. It becomes insignificant before love because love is the symbol of peace, care, respect, life, and other softer emotions. Love gives the message of kindness, brotherhood, and equality. Love does not accept geographical boundaries. It rather gives the message of unity. SO man can even put aside logically proven things for the sake of love. He seems helpless before his emotional nature. Thus love is incomparable and surpasses all other realities.
The poet says how is it possible to ignore a young beautiful girl and be attentive towards some political conversation, relating to Rome, Russia, and Spain. Let all such politics go to hell. I cannot ignore my beloved, as in her presence my attention remains focuessed on her.
The poet admits that there are, of course, people in our society whose experiences and knowledge are really valuable and beneficial information about foreign countries. Their estimates and predictions about the political consequences in the relative situations are mostly correct.
The poet thinks that only serious men of ripe age will prefer such intellectual activity. Young people cannot pay attention to such mature conversations as they are generally preoccupied with ecstatic thoughts of their beloved. Hence especially in the presence of a young beautiful girl, how a young man can attend to a political conversation about Russia and Spain. It is true that the political situation of these countries may lead to war and the estimates of these experienced men about the impending dangers of war may be perfectly right. But for the poet, the reality of love is far more important and superior to other facts of life. The poet himself would rather like to put aside all other assignments if he once again becomes young and enjoys the opportunity of embracing young lass in his arms.
Explanation with Reference to Context
How can I, that girl standing there,
My attention fix
On Roman or on Russian
Or on Spanish politics?
These lines throw light on the attitude of the poet towards politics and love. How politics becomes worthless and unimportant in the wake of love. The poet can not concentrate and take part in the discussion about different issues of the political world whether they concern with Roman, Russian, or Spanish politician the presence of a tempting girl. The girl is a symbol of love, beauty, and life, and other charms. The poet questions how he can ignore that girl, although it is essential to be aware of the political world the reality of charming lass is more important than politics. In this way, the value of love is obvious to us that there is nothing so enchanting than experience of love.
Yet here’s a traveled man that knows
What he talks about,
And there’s a politician
That has read and thought
In these lines, the poet presents and compares the qualities of two highly learned and experienced men. One is a traveler who has vast knowledge and observation of different areas of every country, other is great politician who is highly qualified and can discuss on every topic very well. What he wants to say is that for the sake of love he is not interested in the solid discussions of such politicians.
And maybe what they say is true
Of war and war’s alarms,
But O that I were young again
And held her in my arms!
In these lines, the poet says that the ideas and comments expressed by politicians and the traveled man maybe convincing and perfect based upon reality. Their prediction about war dangers in different countries may be true. In spite of their accuracy, the poet rejects all the arguments. Putting aside all the political issues, he wishes to become young again to make love to the young lass. These lines show the worth of love in a clear way. The girl invigorates his imagination and he yearns to lose in the world of love and romance. But it is his painful fate that he can be young only in imagination.
In the light of Wordsworth and Mann
The famous English poet William Wordsworth says, “What man hath made of man”? The Creator has created man free to think, decide and act but the political values have divided man into different segments. In the political world, man is chained in a thousand shackles of race, nationality, passports, caste, etc. Man has always made man his slave through certain rules and regulations. It is the result of man-made laws that wars are ahead. No nation, no regions, and no country seem to be free of war threat. The developed countries and underdeveloped countries both are targets of war.
Peace seems to be neither within nor without. Thomas Mann’s statement is quite appropriate when we consider the life of the common man. His life is just a struggle to survive. He is insignificant before political hawks. Sense of uncertainty and insecurity prevails in the common man’s life. There is no respect for his opinion before making political decisions. The bigwigs are given extraordinary protocol by blocking roads and jamming traffic. He does not notice how common people have to suffer. A man remains passive and becomes a scapegoat.
Often, people also ask questions about the poems of W. B. Yeats. Some of these questions are as follows: Which poems carry the political thoughts of Yeats? What is Yeats’s most famous poem? What is the poem politics about? Was Yeats a Republican? You can find the answers to these questions by reading the articles related to W. B. Yeats.