Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Tread softly because you tread upon my dreams

I feel the need to share this beautiful poem with others... I've been thinking about it lately. Its been defining my prespective for the last 2 weeks.

He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
by W.B. Yeats

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread upon my dreams.


I'm not sure what Yeats meant by the poem but it has taken on a different meaning for me. For me the title and poem's body speak to two different things. First, the title "He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" speaks to the narrator's desire for something so beautiful, that it's heavenly. Second, when examining the body of what the narrator intends to do with that majestic cloth, it is to offer it to another - possible the beloved.

These desire expressed in the title means that it is only the means to achieve the real desire - to offer something to one's love. This begs, the question, why does one speak about offer something in the title, when in reality the objective is express the love to the loved?

The way i interprete this is that the narrator has lost focus of the loved and sees the 'Cloths of Heaven' as the only means of achieving love itself, so much so that he percives them as the end itself.

I especially feel this in the last few lines...
"But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread upon my dreams."

The narrator cannot offer those cloths but only his dreams in return. The dreams will be walked upon, but more importantly what are his dreams? Are his dreams the love for the loved or they his desire for the cloths of heaven?

I empathize with the narrator because he may not know the anwer himself... the process of pursuing his loved his led him to lose scope of what our dreams and desires are about: love in itself; not the material offers to win love.

Why have I been thinking about this so much... perhaps I to became like the narrator and lost prespective on what are my true dreams, since they cannot be the Cloths of Heaven I have been coveting.

When thinking about a dear friends situation with marriage, i feel this realization actualize more. My dear friend strives for the cloths of heaven in the hopes that he may spread them beneat her feet and express his love. But being poor, he has only his dreams, his dreams of love... if he spreads his dreams, she will tread upon his dreams, even if she treads softly.

12 Comments:

At 11:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

InshAllah will post my own reading of the poem later, Best to you.

U "p" S

 
At 1:13 PM, Blogger Jannah said...

I loved your portrayal about the poem.
The fact that she treads on his dreams saddens me deeply... Letting me wonder, is it true that for love to be expressed, you give your dreams away? The vulnerability worries me... I hope this is not the only way to express real love.

 
At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This excerpt is actually a female speaking to her lover, but the undertones do speak volumes about Yeats' views of himself, women, and love.

 
At 7:18 PM, Anonymous Dave said...

In my humble opinion, the lyrical "I" sees him/herself as a poor man/woman not deserving the beloved one(The gender doesn't matter with love in my humble opinion, anyway, I, being a straight man, will use the masculine form for the lyrical "I", and the feminine for the beloved one). Yet, he loves her so much, that he chooses to tell her, how he feels. Fearing rejection for lack of wealth, he says that if he had anything, he would give everything he has, but being poor, he has only his dreams of her requited love. By saying this, he spreads his dreams under her feet, begging for her to tread softly on his dreams - begging not to be rejected.

 
At 7:38 PM, Anonymous No, I'm Dave said...

The "cloths" are actualy representations of day and night skies... I think... from blue skies of day, carrying a golden sun, through the dim skies of sunset, to the dark skies of night "enwrought" with silver stars and the moon... Which would mean, that if he had the heavens to give, he would, but he can't, as he has nothing but his dreams.

 
At 3:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

good evening everyone...

I'm not sure about where people are coming from, but on Valentine's Day 2007 in the UK, the meaning of the poem is profound and crystal clear to me, or at least how it speaks to me..

It is a wonderful, powerful, confident yet exposed, declaration of love...

To say to your loved one that you would give them everything that heaven could give is a massive declaration of love. To admit to them that you cannot give them all that you would wish is a massive admission of your own frailty. To finish with a final admission and request for equal love reciprocated is awesome..

The real power of this poem is not in the eyes of the protagonist, but in the recipient... what person in love could possibly be moved to the depths of their soul if their loved one expressed these emotions?

James

 
At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's beautifully quoted in the movie EQUILIBRIUM

 
At 11:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I follow your connections, but I love that it means something deep and personal to you. It is a magnificent poem. So short and sweet, but so wrenching; a gem. As for me, I cannot say what it means... not what Yeats was trying to say, not what I think it means... not even what it means to me. It just is. To simply be silent and meditate on it is more valuable than to speculate in my case. What a wonderful poem!

 
At 2:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello all, I have been looking for this poem and stumbled across this website - such beautiful commentry.

I feel that this is plea - a plea to a loved one not to break the narrator's heart.

Our dreams are the only true possession of our hearts and we therefore hold so dear when we love because we know that when we love our dreams will be 'laid' out in the open and therefore risking being 'troden' upon.

So the narrator pleads with the 'loved one' to take good care of thier (the narrator's) heart but more especialy thier dreams.


Because we can only love with our hearts it leaves us ever so vulnarable to heartbreaks and yes rejections.

When you have experinced or seen someone experience a heartbreak - have all thier dreams shattered by a careless 'lover', when you love again you sometimes wish you could love with material things - heavens clothes, and all the 'riches' of this world - things that are detached from you. And maybe then we will always have the most valuable of possessions - our dreams - forever protected.

But then thats not true love because material things are not of the heart; they are of the world. So everytime we fall in love we risk having our dreams shattered yet again.

I think this poem is very profound - to declare that my most valuable possession I give unto you and please do take care not to ruin it because its all I have.

For me it spells unconditional love; great sacrifice; and unmatched openeness for a declaration of love.

I love this poem.

 
At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I see it, the narrator is saying that if he possessed everything, all that is precious and valuable in material wealth, he would lay it down for this one person.

However, he does not possess all this; he simply has himself and his dreams and he would give them all up for this person.

All that he asks is that they do not crush him and his dreams.

 
At 5:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ive enjoyed this poem for some years now!! The sentence "But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread upon my dreams." says to me that narator is giving the one thing, to him that means the most as he is poor he can only dream and his dreams encompass his hopes desires loves etc and these thing give him hope in his life for better. So "Tread softly" because u tread on the things that make him who he is and that he holds on to for life.Theres more but later! lol im tired.

 
At 3:06 PM, Blogger ACS said...

The narrator is asking the linstener to share with the narrator his life (which is symbolically stated as his dream).

 

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