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First Death In Nova Scotia Analysis

Author: poem of Elizabeth Bishop Type: poem Views: 12

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In the cold, cold parlor

my mother laid out Arthur

beneath the chromographs:

Edward, Prince of Wales,

with Princess Alexandra,

and King George with Queen Mary.

Below them on the table

stood a stuffed loon

shot and stuffed by Uncle

Arthur, Arthur's father.

Since Uncle Arthur fired

a bullet into him,

he hadn't said a word.

He kept his own counsel

on his white, frozen lake,

the marble-topped table.

His breast was deep and white,

cold and caressable;

his eyes were red glass,

much to be desired.

"Come," said my mother,

"Come and say good-bye

to your little cousin Arthur."

I was lifted up and given

one lily of the valley

to put in Arthur's hand.

Arthur's coffin was

a little frosted cake,

and the red-eyed loon eyed it

from his white, frozen lake.

Arthur was very small.

He was all white, like a doll

that hadn't been painted yet.

Jack Frost had started to paint him

the way he always painted

the Maple Leaf (Forever).

He had just begun on his hair,

a few red strokes, and then

Jack Frost had dropped the brush

and left him white, forever.

The gracious royal couples

were warm in red and ermine;

their feet were well wrapped up

in the ladies' ermine trains.

They invited Arthur to be

the smallest page at court.

But how could Arthur go,

clutching his tiny lily,

with his eyes shut up so tight

and the roads deep in snow?


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