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As The Sparrow Analysis



Author: poem of Charles Bukowski Type: poem Views: 8

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To give life you must take life,


and as our grief falls flat and hollow


upon the billion-blooded sea


I pass upon serious inward-breaking shoals rimmed


with white-legged, white-bellied rotting creatures


lengthily dead and rioting against surrounding scenes.


Dear child, I only did to you what the sparrow


did to you; I am old when it is fashionable to be


young; I cry when it is fashionable to laugh.


I hated you when it would have taken less courage


to love.






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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

The Sparrow, independently symbolizes freedom, undying love and commitment to a single person. Loyalty, sacrifice and bonding . It signifies that the person values freedom over everything else. He is bound by no rules, and is the master of his own destiny. Perhaps in this case, social rules and societal norms and mores. He is speaking to someone he loves and holds dear to his heart.
"to give life you must take life" -- sacrifice- the dilemma is which should prevail- either sacrifices self for another or sacrifices the other to preserve self---either way 1 is left behind while the other thrives
"and as our grief falls flat and hollow upon the billion-blooded sea
I pass upon serious inward-breaking shoals rimmed with white-legged, white-bellied rotting creatures lengthily dead and rioting against surrounding scenes." -
-basically; when we fail to thrive, we are cast upon the great pile of the grieving, broken hearted, walking wounded, that go un noticed in life. nobody cares; you become just another person chewed up and spit out by society. The emotionally shattered hopeless others who tried and failed and blend into society. Those who said "it won't be me" and find themselves bobbing in the same sea of despair.
The word belly- is a vulnerable area of the body where a wound is most likely fatal especially during Bukowski's era -- ( he was a product of the union between a WWI war bride and soldier & later became of age for WWII service ) belly wound casualties were almost always fatal ( this was written prior to the medical advances that we enjoy today)
The meaning of white signifies a symbol of clarity, innocence, cleanliness, spirituality, purity, goodness, and hope - so to put "white" with " bellied" would be pure innocents and vulnerable casualties of the cruel world.
" Legged" refers to mobile those innocents who where untouched by the jaded truth & who run blindly and full force thinking that they will not end up like so many others before them.
Dear child, I only did to you what the sparrow did to you; I am old when it is fashionable to be young; I cry when it is fashionable to laugh. I hated you when it would have taken less courage to love. --
He refers to that 1 he holds dear, maybe not necessarily a child by birth, age, or familial bond; but 1 who has not experienced the things that he has & has not learned the lessons and felt the pain that he has. He implies that "life is life; i made my choices to embrace my freedom and i left you alone to find my destiny while you were left to find yours. " Life now catches up with me in my advanced years and looking back i have sadness & regrets when i should be happy that i weathered what the world gave me and be satisfied that i beat it. But in the end know that i made the hard choices for your betterment and not taken the easy way out.

| Posted on 2014-03-26 | by a guest


.: :.

To give life you must take life:
refers to the endless wheel of life and death
and as our grief falls flat and hollow:
refers to how we only have this one life and there is only one way out so we must live and save ourselves
upon the billion blooded sea:
refers to the emensity of life and all made of blood

| Posted on 2009-12-28 | by a guest




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