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Flames Analysis

Author: poem of Billy Collins Type: poem Views: 8

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Smokey the Bear heads

into the autumn woods

with a red can of gasoline

and a box of wooden matches.

His ranger's hat is cocked

at a disturbing angle.

His brown fur gleams

under the high sun

as his paws, the size

of catcher's mitts,

crackle into the distance.

He is sick of dispensing

warnings to the careless,

the half-wit camper,

the dumbbell hiker.

He is going to show them

how a professional does it.


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

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im writing this in the week following Trumps election. It hit me hard. Any talk of global warming will be ridiculed, as he nominates a climate denier to head that agency. The despair I feel, and his supporters will feel when they realize the con will cause despair. Abandon all hope all ye who enter here. (Dante, at entrance to Hell) Smokey has abandoned all hope.

| Posted on 2016-11-13 | by a guest

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This poem is about chaos, and about the world coming to a middle ground.

| Posted on 2015-12-23 | by a guest

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I believe the poem is about the apathy of human nature. People are too lazy to be proactive preferring to sit back and react once something really bad happens. Smokey is setting up a situation in which something really bad happens to initiate a change among the people. The poem is definitely about fire prevention but I think it is bigger than that.

| Posted on 2014-10-13 | by a guest

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I think that in this poem Smokey the Bear represents Collins and how fed up he is with how people treat the enviorment. He is critiqueing society through sarcasme which we all know and love. He also uses irony to represent his ideas about Smokey.

| Posted on 2012-11-12 | by a guest

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This poem reflects Billy Collins\' ability to write humorously. However, after more careful analysis, a person realizes that the poem possesses a practical meaning. Smokey the Bear, like many people who try to serve as examples and teachers, is irritated by the lack of respect people give his guidelines. He reaches his limit and decides to defy his own teachings just to illustrate the harmful effects the negative actions he tries to deter possess.

| Posted on 2012-09-15 | by a guest

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I think it is about how if you really love something, you might have to sacrifice it so that nothing ever hurts it again. Most people think its better to put something out of its misery by doing it yourself because you are the one that loves it, not anybody else.

| Posted on 2012-05-18 | by a guest

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I believe that this is actullay about, people in the real world getting angry about people telling a certaian group of people that they have to stop doing something, but they dont listen and, that person gets really angry.

| Posted on 2012-03-22 | by a guest

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This is about a large hungry bear who is tired of people burning down his forest so he decides to take care of both problems. He burns down the forest to cook the campers, and to burn down the forest before anyone else can.

| Posted on 2012-03-16 | by a guest

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I believe that in the poem there exists an ambiguity as to whether Smokey is burning down the forest or the campers who do not heed his warnings. So I think the poem can be read sadistically with Smokey burning down the forest he once strove to protect or in a more dark-humor tone with Smokey burning down the \"dumbells.\"

| Posted on 2012-01-25 | by a guest

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smokey represents the tired socialist in society who has campaigned for years for a less capitalist society, but has come to realise that capitalism is the only system that works. however, he doesn\'t want to be seen changing hisviews because of this realisation so instead he places the blame on other socialists who have not been as fervent as him.

| Posted on 2010-10-25 | by a guest

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Billy collins is using a common figure to grab the readers attention. Everyone is aware of smokey the bears message of put out your camp fires. yet at the same many still ignore hime and continue on the travels think the fire will just die and no harm no foul. Collins makes his point clear about being irrated of how careless people can be in the last 2 stanzas of the poem. He insults the careless and then adds a very ironic note at the end by saying " He is going to show them/how a professional does it."
~Erin Branch~

| Posted on 2010-05-01 | by a guest

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flames is a poem about smokey the bear who is going to burn down the forest to teach the campers a lesson.

| Posted on 2009-05-17 | by a guest

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