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An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death


by W.B. Yeats

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

While Yeats sometimes likes to play games with meter, in "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death" he's pretty straightforward: iambic tetrameter all the way. Wait, don't we mean iambic pentameter? No,...


Our speaker is the star of the poem, and we learn a lot about him. For starters, he's an Irish airman (a pilot, not a guy made of air); we know this from the title. But he's a very special Irish ai...


Well our speaker is an airman, and he sure talks a lot about the clouds, doesn't he? That's one way to think of this poem's setting: the clouds. Now the speaker isn't exactly flying through the clo...

Sound Check

This poem sounds like a meditation that the speaker might say quietly to himself while he's waiting, a meditation that he might write down in his journal, or maybe to his family back home. Whoever...

What's Up With the Title?

"An Irish Airman Foresees His Death"—seems simple enough, don't it? It tells us that the poem will be the meditation of an Irish airman (pilot) who foresees his own death. And… that's what we g...

Calling Card

While Yeats doesn't actually mention the name Robert Gregory anywhere in this poem, everybody knows that there's only one Irish airman that matters in his poetry, and that's Robert Gregory. He's th...


There's nothing too fancy in this poem. The sentences are pretty simple, and so are the words (well, except maybe for the reference to Kiltartan). Yeah, we know the speaker gets kind of vague towar...


Major Robert Gregory, the Irish airman on whom this poem is based, was a well-known cricket player back in the day (cricket is a British game, kind of like baseball). (Source.) Yeats wrote four poe...

Steaminess Rating

Let's see: one dude, an airplane, and war. That's not exactly a recipe for steam. No sex in this poem folks; it's too somber and serious for that.


Major Robert Gregory, Yeats' friend and son of Lady Gregory (the whole poem)

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