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The Imaginary Iceberg Analysis

Author: Poetry of Elizabeth Bishop Type: Poetry Views: 241

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North & South1946We'd rather have the iceberg than the ship,although it meant the end of travel.Although it stood stock-still like cloudy rockand all the sea were moving marble.We'd rather have the iceberg than the ship;we'd rather own this breathing plain of snowthough the ship's sails were laid upon the seaas the snow lies undissolved upon the water.O solemn, floating field,are you aware an iceberg takes reposewith you, and when it wakes may pasture on your snows?This is a scene a sailor'd give his eyes for.The ship's ignored. The iceberg risesand sinks again; its glassy pinnaclescorrect elliptics in the sky.This is a scene where he who treads the boardsis artlessly rhetorical. The curtainis light enough to rise on finest ropesthat airy twists of snow provide.The wits of these white peaksspar with the sun. Its weight the iceberg daresupon a shifting stage and stands and stares.The iceberg cuts its facets from within.Like jewelry from a graveit saves itself perpetually and adornsonly itself, perhaps the snowswhich so surprise us lying on the sea.Good-bye, we say, good-bye, the ship steers offwhere waves give in to one another's wavesand clouds run in a warmer sky.Icebergs behoove the soul(both being self-made from elements least visible)to see them so: fleshed, fair, erected indivisible.


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