In this poem, the speaker is talks about his experiences in one significant morning. The poem introduces a beach environment where the speaker talks about collecting rocks, while seeing a dead otter, an oyster fisher, and a bird trying to find its prey. He recalls that this morning is the morning after contemplating of dying, but in the second stanza he has a change of feeling. Instead of seeing disturbances, he sees things that symbolize piece and serenity – butterflies, a couple, the sun. Taking into account all these literal events make the story far too normal. However, what makes this poem noteworthy is its two-sided arguments for the natural order of the world – chaotic in nature or underlying order.
In the first stanza, we do notice the total chaos in this experience. Although the first phrase might imply a peaceful event, the subject matter is about something quite chaotic in nature – the dead other. This image ruins the idea of a peaceful morning, strolling on the beach while looking for rocks. The death of an animal is, in fact, natural. However, it’s rotting and its “scent of savage/valediction,” (line 2-3) both accentuate how chaotic its death is to the peacefulness of this experience.
Following that first image, more instances of chaos are found. A walk on the beach sparks up an image of a quiet stroll, but sounds can easily disrupt that. Cha...
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...otter, disturbing high pitched sounf of the oystercatcher, the cormorant, and the heron all connote the idea of an overwhelming chaotic nature of the world. The first two lines of the second stanza justify this view because we find that the speaker has gone through a personal experience of facing death. However, in the majority of the second stanza, the speaker finds a more peaceful underlying order in the next few images he sees. The butterfly, a couple quietly speaking, and the soothing warmth of nature all appeal to an underlying order, filled with peacefulness and serenity. From the different perspectives of a single experience of the speaker, the author is able to create a world where although chaos can be present through personal experience, the underlying order is still intact, as long as one is able to look at it from a more calm and peaceful vantage point.
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