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Little Exercise Analysis

Author: poem of Elizabeth Bishop Type: poem Views: 6

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                For Thomas Edwards Wanning



Think of the storm roaming the sky uneasily

like a dog looking for a place to sleep in,

listen to it growling.

Think how they must look now, the mangrove keys

lying out there unresponsive to the lightning

in dark, coarse-fibred families,

where occasionally a heron may undo his head,

shake up his feathers, make an uncertain comment

when the surrounding water shines.

Think of the boulevard and the little palm trees

all stuck in rows, suddenly revealed

as fistfuls of limp fish-skeletons.

It is raining there. The boulevard

and its broken sidewalks with weeds in every crack,

are relieved to be wet, the sea to be freshened.

Now the storm goes away again in a series

of small, badly lit battle-scenes,

each in "Another part of the field."

Think of someone sleeping in the bottom of a row-boat

tied to a mangrove root or the pile of a bridge;

think of him as uninjured, barely disturbed.


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

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Bishop first personifies the storm as “roaming the sky uneasily” as if looking for a place to settle upon, like a dog looking for a place to sleep. She uses anaphora in the beginning of stanzas one, two, four, and seven—“think”— to demand her audience to envision what she describes with imagery. To her, the mangroves look like fallen families, lying together huddled and defeated from the tropical storm. In addition, she describes the palm trees as “fistfuls of limp fish-skeletons” due to their savagely waving branches that are clumping together. The tone then shifts from observant to uplifting, whereas the sixth stanza discusses how not everything is effected negatively by the storm (sidewalks and the sea). When the storm goes away, its remnant is that of a battle scene— particles thrown all over the place and living things destroyed. Bishop ends with a stanza about “someone sleeping in the bottom of a row-boat/tied to a mangrove root or the pile of a bridge.” This person seems undisturbed by the storm, which symbolizes how Thomas felt about the rumors and comments about his relationship with Bishop. Their love affair was secret; however, it raised a commotion. He was unfazed by the commotion just as the person in the boat was unfazed by the storm.

| Posted on 2015-09-15 | by a guest

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