1. INTRODUCTION……………………………………………..…... (Page 1)
(A Song for Simeon)……………………………………………. (Pages 2 - 4)
3. WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS (1865 – 1939)
(The Second Coming and A Coat) ……………………………... (Pages 4 - 6)
4. ROBERT GRAVES (1895-1985)
(A Dead Boche) …………………………………………….… (Pages 7 - 8)
5. DAVID HERBERT LAWRENCE (1885-1930)
6. WYSTAN HUGH AUDEN (1907 – 1973)
(September 1, 1939)……………………………………..……. (Pages 12 - 16 )
7. DYLAN MARLAIS THOMAS (1914-1953)
(Vision and Prayer) …………………………………………... (Pages 16 - 18)
8. CONCLUSION…………………………………………………....(Pages 18 - 19)
9. BIBLIOGRAPHY………………………………………………. (Pages 20 - 21)
In our paper we are going to deal with the topic of Religion all throughout the Modernist period in English Poetry. We are going to see this important aspect mainly in these poets who were very important to consider since they created this new movement called “Modernism”. In order to understand completely the authors and their ages, we are going to follow a chronological order since the beginning of Modernism. We will see how the first author we are talking about won’t have the same characteristics and won’t deal with the same topics as the last one, because this Modernist period developed a lot as time passes, so we will see the main differences among authors of the same time period.
Firstly, we are going to talk about this period saying that it is a mode of writing that is characterized by two main features. The first is technical innovation in the writing through the extensive use of free verse. The second is a move away from the Romantic idea of an unproblematic poetic 'self' directly addressing an equally unproblematic ideal reader or audience. Modernist poetry in English is generally considered to have emerged in the early years of the 20th century with the appearance of the Imagist poets. In common with many other modernists, these poets were writing in reaction to what they saw as the excesses of Victorian poetry, with its emphasis on traditional formalism and overly flowery poetic diction. We can see now in this period how longer poems are created, which represent the main contribution of the modernist movement to the 20th century English poetic canon.  Moreover, one of the most important and essential elements in the well-known 20th century poetry, otherwise known as World War II poetry, was the appearance of fascism which destroyed completely the western concept of life. But we are not going to spend much time talking about this.
Secondly, as we have said before, we are going to follow this chronological order so we will start talking about Thomas S. Eliot who was one of the most important writers of this period. He will introduce new patterns as addressing the reader directly, and he will show objectivity and will make people be shocked by a poem because of the emphatic reaction it causes. Although World War II has finished he and the other ones still use topics such as death, which was a very important one. Furthermore, we are going to see William Butler Yeats,’ Robert Grave’s, David Herbert Lawrence’s, Wystan Hugh Auden’s and David Herbert Lawrence lives and their main poem related to Religion.
Finally, we would like to say that the concept of Religion has been very important in our society and even more in literature; this is the reason why we wanted to deal with it. We chose this topic because we found it very important and we thought it was a topic we had to talk about. Nowadays Religion is present in everything but it was also present and it was also even more important in the antiquity than currently. So, in our paper we are going to see the different changing aspects among the poets from the same period and we are also going to see the different ways the authors had to deal with this topic of Religion in their poems.
2. THOMAS STEARNS ELIOT (1888-1965)
First of all, the first author we are going to analyse is T.S Eliot who is an important figure in the modernist poetry because his poem The Waste Land is considered a foundational text of Modernism, which shows how to make meaning by the use of fragments and dislocation. Is this construction of an exclusive meaning what was essential to Modernism. But our analysis is not going to be dedicated to this poem but to another one, which is related to the topic we are dealing with, Religion. Before we start with the analysis of the poem, we are going to expound some information about Eliot that could be useful in order to understand better the poem.
Firstly, Thomas Stearns Eliot was
poet, critic and editor. He was born in
A Song for Simeon
Lord, the Roman hyacinths are blooming in bowls and
The winter sun creeps by the snow hills;
The stubborn season has made stand.
My life is light, waiting for the death wind,
Like a feather on the back of my hand.
Dust in sunlight and memory in corners
Wait for the wind that chills towards the dead land.
Grant us thy peace.
I have walked many years in this city,
Kept faith and fast, provided for the poor,
Have taken and given honour and ease.
There went never any rejected from my door.
Who shall remember my house, where shall live my children’s children
When the time of sorrow is come ?
They will take to the goat’s path, and the fox’s home,
Fleeing from the foreign faces and the foreign swords.
Before the time of cords and scourges and lamentation
Grant us thy peace.
Before the stations of the mountain of desolation,
Before the certain hour of maternal sorrow,
Now at this birth season of decease,
Let the Infant, the still unspeaking and unspoken Word,
Grant Israel’s consolation
To one who has eighty years and no to-morrow.
According to thy word,
They shall praise Thee and suffer in every generation
With glory and derision,
Light upon light, mounting the saints’ stair.
Not for me the martyrdom, the ecstasy of thought and prayer,
Not for me the ultimate vision.
Grant me thy peace.
(And a sword shall pierce thy heart,
I am tired with my own life and the lives of
those after me,
I am dying in my own death and the deaths of those after me.
Let thy servant depart,
Having seen thy salvation.
On the one hand, this poem talks
about the story of Simeon, a biblical character who was fair and devout and
hoped the redemption from
On the other hand, T.S Eliot felt himself identified with this story, which also expresses one of the topics of Modernism which was the disillusionment and the face of an unmanageable future and resignation. Everyone has fear of dying and hopes something after death, but anyone knows what will happen when they die; they can only resign and accept that they can not control death. We al have the doubt of what will happen when we die, what will happen to all the people we love, will they be happy? Will they suffer the horrors of another war? What can we do about it?, anything resigns and that’s the disillusion modernism talks about. where shall live my children’s children?/ When the time of sorrow is come?
In addition, we can find some other aspects that usually appear in Romanticism such as free form and verse and no metaphors. Because of that, this poem has no cryptically meaning, it only means what it word-for-word says. There are no symbols excluding this verse: And a sword shall pierce thy heart, Thine also. The sword in the biblical context means the message of God. As an example of this simple poetic language, Eliot explained it in this sentence Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper tree in the cool of the cool of the day… from Ash Wednesday (1927); he said “It means Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper tree in the cool of the cool of the day”.
To conclude, we can say that, although modernism was not influenced in a great way by religion, because of the doubts that surrounded the society, Eliot, using his faith as an important part of his ideas, gave us a testimony of his way of thinking and how religion was lived by the people who believe in his time. Even if we do not want to, religion is part of our culture and as Eliot said, Literature impact in religion and vice versa.
3. WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS (1865 – 1939)
Then, we are going to talk about William Butler Yeats. He is generally considered to be one of the twentieth century’s key English-language poets. Although most modernists experimented with free verse, Yeats was a master of the traditional verse forms. The impact of modernism on Yeats’ works can be seen in the increasing abandonment of the more conventionally poetic diction of his early work in favour of the more austere language and more direct approach to his themes that characterises the poetry and plays of his middle period.
Firstly, Yeats had a life-long interest in mysticism, spiritualism, occultism and astrology. Born into a Protestant family, with a paternal grandfather and great-grandfather having been Anglican clergymen, religion was a constant presence in Yeats's childhood. Yeats began to abandon the religion of his Rationalist upbringing and made a new religion out of poetic tradition. His mystical inclinations, informed by the writings of Swedenborg and Hindu religion theosophical ideas, the occult and above all the system of A Vision ( a book of marriage therapy spiced with occultism); formed much of the basis of his late poetry, though he himself had written: "The mystical life is the centre of all that I do and all that I think and all that I write."
Secondly, we are going to see some examples of his interest in religion through his poetry. His poem The Second coming was written in 1919 and it is one of the most obscure poems and thematically difficult to understand. Here we see how he uses religious symbolism to illustrate his own anguish over the apparent decline of Europe's ruling class, and his occult belief that Western Civilization was nearing the terminal point of a 2000-year historical cycle.
The Second Coming
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
The structure of the poem nevertheless is quite simple; the first stanza describes the situation of the world and the second stanza advices that a monstruous Second Coming is about to take place. In the first stanza he explains that the world has gone far away from conditions of democracy, science and hetereoginity as the falcon cannot hear the falconer. Things fall appart from that gyre (spiral) and its centre does no longer support those conditions. We have to take into account that this poem was written after the World War I, so it is easy to understand the pesimistic vision of society through Yeat’s eyes. However, the second stanza is a kind of apocalyptic vision, we could also say prophetic. He describes a monstruous being that constitutes a very different idea from the Christian belief of the Second Coming. Maybe, he is describing a new age that is going to begin after all the conflicts in Europe, a “rough beast” that is slouching towards Bethlehem.
This poem has helped us to seeYeats’s philosophical views of the time he was living through religious elements, his own concept of religion that he himself created. His particular believes constitute the basis to his reflections and the creation of his poetry.
Now, let’s see aYeats’s short poem in which he explains his own spiritual feelings. It is called A Coat:
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.
We could interpret this poem as a personal confession of his spirituality. He covered himself with a coat that made his believes different from everybody else, out of Christianism or English Church. But fools ruin religion making it more than something spiritual, they caught it and made something banal, so he prefers not believing in that kind of religion.
4. ROBERT GRAVES (1895-1985)
The third author we are going to deal with is Robert Graves. First of all we are going to do a biographical vision of his life which influenced his writings. Robert Graves was born on July 24, 1895, in Wimbledon, near London. His father was a Gaelic scholar and minor Irish poet. His mother, Amalie Von Ranke Graves, was a relation of Leopold Von Ranke, one of the founding fathers of modern historical studies. Furthermore, Robert was greatly influenced by his mother's puritanical beliefs and his father's love of Celtic poetry and myth. As a young man, he was more interested in boxing and mountain climbing than studying, although poetry later sustained him through a turbulent adolescence.
Moreover, in August 1914 he enlisted as a junior officer in the Royal Welch Fusiliers. He fought in the Battle of Loos and was injured in the Somme offensive in 1916. While convalescing, he published his first collection of poetry, Over the Brazier. By 1917, though still an active serviceman, Graves had published three volumes. In 1918, he spent a year in the trenches, where he was again severely wounded. In January 1918, at the age of twenty-two, he married eighteen-year-old Nancy Nicholson. But traumatized by the war, he went to Oxford with his wife and took a position at St. John's College. Graves's early volumes of poetry, like those of his contemporaries, deal with natural beauty and bucolic pleasures, and with the consequences of the First World War. Over the Brazier and Fairies and Fusiliers earned for Graves the reputation as an accomplished war poet. After meeting the American poet and theorist Laura Riding in 1926, Graves's poetry underwent a significant transformation. She persuaded him to curb his digressiveness and his rambling philosophizing and to concentrate instead on terse, ironic poems written on personal themes.
In 1927, Graves and his first wife separated permanently, and in 1929 he published Goodbye to All That, an autobiography that announced his psychological accommodation with the residual horror of his war experiences. Shortly afterward, he departed to Majorca with Laura Riding. In addition to completing many books of verse while in Majorca, Graves also wrote several volumes of criticism, some in collaboration with Riding.
Although Graves claimed that he wrote novels only to earn money, it was through these that he attained status as a major writer in 1934, with the publication of the historical novel I, Claudius, and its sequel, Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina. At the onset of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, Graves and Riding fled Majorca, eventually settling in America. In 1939, Laura Riding left Graves for the writer Schuyler Jackson; one year later Graves began a relationship with Beryl Hodge that was to last until his death.
After World War II, Graves returned to Majorca, where he lived with Hodge and continued to write. By the 1950's, Graves had won an enormous international reputation as a poet, novelist, literary scholar, and translator. In 1962, W. H. Auden went as far as to assert that Graves was England's "greatest living poet." In 1968 he received the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. During his lifetime he published more than 140 books, including fifty-five collections of poetry (he reworked his Collected Poems repeatedly during his career), fifteen novels, ten translations, and forty works of non-fiction, autobiography, and literary essays. From 1961 to 1966, Graves returned to England to serve as a professor of poetry at Oxford. In the 1970s his productivity fell off; and the last decade of his life was lost in silence and senility. Robert Graves died in Majorca in 1985, at the age of ninety.
After this biographical background we are going to analyse one of his poems contained in Fairies and Fusiliers (1918) and which is the number nineteen. It is called A Dead Boche:
A Dead Boche
To you who’d read my songs of War
And only hear of blood and fame,
I’ll say (you’ve heard it said before)
”War’s Hell!” and if you doubt the same,
Today I found in Mametz Wood
A certain cure for lust of blood:
Where, propped against a shattered trunk,
In a great mess of things unclean,
Sat a dead Boche; he scowled and stunk
With clothes and face a sodden green,
Big-bellied, spectacled, crop-haired,
Dribbling black blood from nose and beard.
Firstly I have to say that the word “boche” is used as a derogatory name of a German soldier. So it is like saying “A dead German soldier.” Secondly, he is addressing us through the poem but it is more significant at the beginning “To you who’d read my songs of War/ and only hear of blood and fame” (Verses 1 and 2). In addition to this, he is telling us how the war is “War’s Hell!” and if you have a doubt he continues describing something that had happened today while he was fighting. ”War’s Hell! and if you doubt the same, / Today I found in Mametz Wood / A certain cure for lust of blood:” Furthermore, he continues saying that the thing was “In a great mess of things unclean,” between the disaster of a War. It was “Where, propped against a shattered trunk,” to finally end the poem telling us what the thing he found was. It was a German soldier “Sat a dead Boche; he scowled and stunk / With clothes and face a sodden green, / Big-bellied, spectacled, crop-haired, / Dribbling black blood from nose and beard.” During this poem Robert Graves is showing us how bad a War is principally to the people and to the soldiers who most of them do not have any election about going to war or staying at home.
5. DAVID HERBERT LAWRENCE (1885-1930)
In this part we are going to talk about David Herbert Lawrence. He was born on September 11, 1885, in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, central England. He was the fourth child of a struggling coal miner who was a heavy drinker. His mother was a former schoolteacher, greatly superior in education to her husband. Lawrence's childhood was dominated by poverty and friction between his parents. He was educated at Nottingham High School, to which he had won a scholarship. He worked as a clerk in a surgical appliance factory and then for four years as a pupil-teacher. After studies at Nottingham University, Lawrence, at 22, briefly pursued a teaching career. Lawrence's mother died in 1910; he helped her die by giving her an overdose of sleeping medicine.
Furthermore, in 1909, a number of Lawrence's poems were published by Ford Max Ford in the English Review. The appearance of his first novel, The White Peacock (1911), launched Lawrence into a writing career. In 1912 he met Frieda Von Richthofen, the Professor Ernest Weekly's wife and fell in love with her. Frieda left her husband and three children, and they eloped to Bavaria. Lawrence's novel Sons and Lovers appeared in 1913 and was based on his childhood. In 1914 Lawrence married Frieda Von Richthofen, and travelled with her in several countries. Lawrence's fourth novel, The Rainbow (1915), was about two sisters growing up in the north of England. Lawrence started to write The Lost Girl in Italy. He dropped the novel for some years and rewrote the story in an old Sicilian farmhouse near Taormina in 1920.
During the First World War Lawrence and his wife were unable to obtain passports and were easy targets of constant harassment from the authorities. They were accused of spying the Germans and officially expelled from Cornwall in 1917. The Lawrence’s were not permitted to emigrate until 1919, when their years of wandering began.
Lawrence's best known work is Lady Chatterly's Lover, first published privately in Florence in 1928. It talks about the love affair between a wealthy, married woman, and a man who works on her husband's estate. The book was banned for a time, in both UK and the US, as pornographic. Lawrence's other novels from the 1920s also include Women in Love (1920), a sequel to The Rainbow. Aaron's Rod (1922) shows the influence of Nietzsche, and in Kangaroo (1923) Lawrence expressed his own idea of a 'superman'. The Plumed Serpent (1926) was a vivid evocation of Mexico and its ancient Aztec religion. The Man Who Died (1929), is a bold story of Christ's Resurrection. Lawrence's non-fiction works include Movements In European History(1921), Psychoanalysis And The Unconscious (1922) and Studies In Classic American Literature (1923).
D.H. Lawrence died in Vence, France on March 2, 1930. He also gained posthumous renown for his expressionistic paintings completed in the 1920s. His best known poems are probably those dealing with nature such as those in Birds Beasts and Flowers and Tortoises. Snake, one of his most frequently anthologised, displays some of his most concerns; those of man's modern distance from nature and subtle hints at religious themes.
“A snake came to my water-trough 1
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,
To drink there.
In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree
I came down the steps with my pitcher
And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before me”
In this poem, Lawrence has an extrange meeting with a Snake, this makes him doubt about what to do, makes him choose between what is correct, from the point of view of the cultural values, or not, even though he is extremely attracted by this serpent, which clearly is a Religious symbol of Evil. The poet was tired of the stifling Christianity of Europe and wished to rejuvenate it with earlier, tribal religions. This search for a primeval religious consciousness was part of the reason for his "savage pilgrimage."
When World War I broke out, he felt that it was then more important to find the grounds of faith in life itself and the means to a new integration of the individual and society. To this he added the question of the nature of a relationship between man and man that would have the same higher significance as that between a man and a woman. Religiously and ethically he can be described as a vitalist, finding a source and a guide - in a sense, God - in the "life force" itself as it was manifested in nature, un-tampered with by "mental attitudes." He was concerned with how this force might be restored to a proper balance in human behaviour. We have a clear example in the following poem:
why do you cry?
It's you and me
the same as before.
If you hear a rustle
it's only a rabbit
gone back to his hole
in a bustle.
If something stirs in teh branches
overhead, it will be a squirrel moving
uneasily, disturbed by the stress
of our loving.
Why should you cry then?
Ar you afraid of God
in the dark?
I'm not afraid of God.
Let him come forth.
If he is hiding in the cover
let him come forth.
Now in the cool of the day
it is we who walk in the trees
and call to God "Where art thou?"
And it is he who hides.
Why do you cry?
My heart is bitter.
Let God come forth to justify
Why do you cry?
Is it Wehmut, ist dir weh?
Weep then, yea
for the abomination of our old righteousness.
We have done wrong
but this time we begin to do right.
Weep then, weep
for the abomination of our old righteousness.
God will keep
hidden, he won't come forth.
In this poem, Lawrence addresses to a woman who cries “Why do you cry?”
They have gone out for a walk, and the woman is afraid. She hears some noises in Nature and he tries to calm her down , showing her that the strange noises come from innocent animals, come from nature and “it is only a rabbit”, “it will be a squirrel moving uneasily,” as the poem says. However, she thinks God is hiding in Nature, in the darkness and he wants her not to be afraid of Him, as he is not “I am not afraid of God”, “if he is hiding in the cover, let him come forth”; it is only he and she walking in the trees. But she continues crying, and that makes him feel upset “my heart is bitter”, the man searches for an answer, even addressing her in German, “is it Wehmut, ist dir weh?” Then, as she gives him no answer, he guesses the reason why, she weeps “for the abomination of our old righteousness”, as they are sinners, she thinks they will be punished by a vindictive God, but this time they “begin to do it right”, so God will continue hidden in Nature, but He will not come forth to punish them, as He is a different God, a new concept form men in general had in Old Testament.
6. WYSTAN HUGH AUDEN (1907 – 1973)
Now we are going to deal with Wystan Hugh Auden who also was an influential English poet of the 20th century. He was born in York, England. He was the son of Dr. George Augustus Auden and Constance Rosalie Bicknell Auden. Both of Auden’s grandfathers were Church of England clergymen; the Auden family was Anglo-Catholic in its religious life (high form of Anglicanism and a ritual similar to that of Roman Catholicism). He was homosexual. He formed lifelong friendships with two fellow writers, Stephen Spender and Christopher Isherwood. In 1928, Auden published his first book of verse, and his collection Poems (1930), that established him as the leading voice of a new generation. He has been admired for his ability on writing poems. In his works he incorporates popular culture, current events and vernacular speech. Moreover, in 1939 he moved to the United States, where he met his lover, Chester Kallman, and became an American citizen. His own beliefs changed: when he was in England he believed in the Freudian psychoanalysis and on socialism and his later phase in America, his central preoccupation became Christianity and the theology of modern Protestant theologians. He was considered to be the greatest English poet of the twentieth century. He died in Vienna in 1973.
In addition to this, we’re going to analyze one of Auden’s poems called September 1, 1939. As we have said before, most of Auden’s poems deal with current events, and this poem is a perfect example of it. In September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland, and with this started the World War II (year in which Auden moved to the United States). All throughout the poem he also mentions real personalities:
I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.
Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.
Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.
Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
And the international wrong.
Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.
The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.
From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
"I will be true to the wife,
I'll concentrate more on my work,"
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the deaf,
Who can speak for the dumb?
All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.
Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.
The poem is well-organized in nine stanzas formed at the same time by eleven verses each one of them. On the first Stanza Auden describes the situation during the beginnings of the war. He uses negative terms to emphasize his opposition to the war. We can find several examples of this such as “dishonest decade, waves of anger and fear, darkened lands, odour of death,” etc. Furthermore, in the second stanza Auden scorns God referring to him as “A psychopathic god.” He is telling us that god has a mental disease because of all the violence happening all around the world. Using the word “god” without capital letters also denotes a high degree of despise.
Auden’s life can be divided in two parts, until 1939 he lived in England and then he went to America. While living in Europe he believed in Freudian Psychoanalysis, and in America his beliefs changed; his central preoccupation was Christianity and the theology of the modern Protestant theologians. The poem shows us a rejection of God, and it was written in the year 1939 (year when Auden moved to America), what maybe means that he had recently arrived to America, or maybe he was still in Europe, but not too long.
Along the poem, he names several personalities which form part of our history, for instance, Luther, Thucydides, Nijinsky, etc. He also criticizes dictators (3rd stanza) saying things like “The elderly rubbish they talk, The habit-forming pain, We must suffer them all again.” He shows us how people feels under the command of these dictators, “lost in a haunted wood, children afraid of the night,” etc. (5th stanza). What is more, he denotes an opposition to the conservative side referring to it, as we see in the 7th stanza, “From the conservative dark.” In the 8th stanza Auden makes reference to himself, “All I have is a voice, To undo the folded lie.” Authority is constantly lying, and the only thing that Auden can do is to reveal these lies through his poems. “Defenceless under the night, Our world in stupor lies.” These verses appear in the last stanza; it is just the way he and all the people feel because of the war.
7. DYLAN MARLAIS THOMAS (1914-1953)
Our next step is Dylan Marlais Thomas. He was born on 1914 in Swansea (Southern Wales), and he was characterized by a contradictory nature: His father was atheist and his mother a staunch believer of the western religion; this is the reason why Thomas has been always regarded as an ambivalent writer. His mother succeeded in instilling some of her religious influence; however Thomas was most influenced by the atheism of his father. 
We have to take into account that the religion reflected in Thomas’ work is not actually the merciful God of the Bible; in his writings we may find darkness, death as an inevitable fact, references to pagan gods from Celt origins. In general terms, it is not advisable to interpret his religion as the Christian tradition we are familiar with.
Welsh culture was deeply influenced by Puritanism and this heritage was inescapable for Dylan Thomas. Andrew Sinclair in his book Dylan Thomas: Poet of His People describes that sort of welsh Puritanism influenced on the author: The Welsh were in fear of their dark desires, their natural bawdiness, of their love of drink and chat and copulation [yet] after Wesley, seem to have lept first into a hell-fire puritanism and then a suffocating respectability that was the condition of . . . Swansea society, in which Dylan was born, and from which he fled, against which he rebelled, out of which he could never escape. The contradictory nature of Dylan, mentioned before, is his most representative attitude: on the one hand, facing the social tradition, Puritanism instilled on him how to behave correctly, but on the other hand, he was "a mighty drinker and rioter". 
Birth, childhood, adolescence, sexuality, religion, death, and legend, the multiple universes of symbols and the contradictory nature are the elements that shape his poetry. Dylan Thomas tries to learn the limits of the reality - the beauty and the horror of living - through an active participation on both extremes. We are dealing with the ecstasy of life and the horror of life, and through that opposed paths we find Dylan Thomas.
Among his most famous works we find 18 Poems released in 1934 and Twenty-five Poems published in 1934. Dylan Thomas has never sought metaphysical neither philosophical answers in his works, he believes in God. However, his religion is not mediation, but it constitutes a part of life. Dylan chose a kind of natural religion, his symbols and references to the bible constitutes his direct knowledge. 
We are going to analyze the poem Vision and Prayer. In Vision and Prayer, Dylan describes the state of innocence before the fall. It was first published in 1945, and consists of twelve 'shaped' stanzas, each of them starts with a single syllable and adds a syllable per line, and then returns to a single syllable at the end. The following is an extract from “Vision and Prayer" to commemorate the birth of his son.
Vision and Prayer
Who is born
In the next room
So loud to my own
That i can hear the womb
Opening and the dark run
Over the ghost and the dropped son
Behind the wall thin as a wren’s bone?
In the birth bloody room unknown
To the burn and turn of time
And the heart print of man
Bows no baptism
But dark alone
We can notice that this poem is written carefully with exact combination of syllables and extension that results the shape of a womb. The alliteration of the vowel "o" provides the effect of the mystery of creation, and at the same time, it imitates the heartbeat of a newborn baby. The poem is clearly written from a religious point of view: “baptism” “blessing”.
Finally, Dylan Thomas demonstrates that poetry, although being religious does not need to be placed in a world of abstractions, but it should be built up within the union of the body and the nature.
Concluding, we would like to say that after having analysed all these authors, we see how all of them share the same pattern and ideals of the Modernist period but at the same time we can distinguish some differences. In addition to this, we see how all of them tried to deal with the topic of Religion but we definitely can tell that some of them did talk about this issue in a more deep way.
First of all, we have talked about probably one of the most important one who is T.S. Elliot. He wrote the most modernist poem in English Poetry, which was considered as a model to follow, it is called The Waste Land. Although, as we have seen all throughout our paper, this poem it does anything to do with religion; it is very well-know and we had to mention it. T.S. Elliot, as we have said before, became interested in religion in the 1920’s but then he had doubts about it. We have also seen that his poetry shows a religious predisposition, although it never becomes dogmatic. He once said that religion takes part in our culture and he also said that “Literature impacts in religion and vice versa”.
Apart from T.S. Elliot, we have also seen William B. Yeats who, as we have mentioned, is generally considered to be one of the twentieth century’s key English-language poets. But what matters here is that religion was a constant presence in his childhood. He was important because he made a new religion out of poetic tradition.
Adding to this, we have also dealt with Robert Graves who was greatly influenced by his mother's puritanical beliefs. Moreover, we have also talked about D.H. Lawrence who was described religiously and ethically as a vitalist using God as his guide in life. Furthermore, W. Hugh Auden was involved in an Anglo-Catholic family but apparently he felt he didn’t fit in that because he became homosexual, which an issue that the church would never admit.
Finally we have seen D.Marlais Thomas and we have said that he has been always regarded as an ambivalent writer because his father was atheist and his mother a staunch believer of the western religion. But he never let the atheism of his father to influence him. The Religion he talks about is not actually the merciful God of the Bible. He talks about darkness, death as an inevitable fact and references to pagan gods from Celt origins. In general terms, as we have said in our paper, it is not advisable to interpret his religion as the Christian tradition we are familiar with. He also said that religion has to do with the union of the body and the nature and not with the world of abstractions we know.
So, all throughout our paper, we have seen that Religion has a very important role, becoming essential, in the modernist period of poetry. It can be interpreted in different ways by one author or another, because all of them had their own personal beliefs and thoughts. It just depends on the way of life they had. In addition to this, Parental influences were pretty important and helped them to follow one or another doctrine, as it was also important their background situation such as economic, social and politic circumstances. As Religion is essential in this period; it was also essential in these authors in some way, more in ones than in others. To conclude, we would like to say that our aim in this paper was to deal with this topic of Religion in the life of modernist poets and in their poems.
A Coat by William
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