Three Poems, One Theme: Nature's Perception of Time Essays

Three Poems, One Theme: Nature's Perception of Time Essays

Length: 897 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Good Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In three poems – "Old Woodrat's Stinky House", "The Mountain Spirit", and "Boat of a Million Years" – Gary Snyder uses the concept of deep time to show us how nature views time and implies that humanity needs to be able to see time the same way. Snyder's poems imply that he believes people have forgotten their place in the natural world and that we should try to regain our respect for nature. "Old Woodrat's Stinky House" explains what is wrong with how we perceive time. "The Mountain Spirit" shows why nature views time as more like a singular thing than a series of segments like humans do. "Boat of a Million Years" hints at a solution and implies that we should relax and follow nature's example.
First, the poem "Old Woodrat's Stinky House" begins with a short creation myth – Coyote and Earthmaker creating the planet – but the poet goes on to write:
Us critters hanging out together
something like three billion years
Gary Snyder does this to help the reader perceive the vast amount of time before humans existed. Snyder later writes about "woodrat" who is described as "stinking everything up – pissing on everything". Woodrats (also known as packrats) have been known to devote their time to collecting material items with no practical value. Gary Snyder is comparing us as a species to the woodrat of his poem. As further proof of the woodrat-human connection: the "venerable desert woodrat nest" is described as "a family house in use for eight thousand years". This
"eight thousand years" figure is no coincidence; humans started building clay huts eight thousand years ago. Snyder then equates the "four thousand years of using writing" with the lifespan of a bristlecone pine as a demonstration of how young we are to this planet. He ...


... middle of paper ...


...oking" to characterize humanity's need to control the natural world. Gary Snyder is really suggesting a world where we humans live with what happens and not try to change the planet. The poem ends with the line "We are led by dolphins toward morning"; when linked to the idea of a "boat of million years" this line posits that we as humans should realize that time is long and that we should follow nature's example.
Finally, all three poems are linked through the common theme of nature's perception of time. Two of the poems – "Old Woodrat's Stinky House" and "Mountain Spirit" – are linked with the common image of the bristlecone pine to show how long a single being can live. Gary Snyder's poems show the reader: what is wrong with humanity's perception of time, how nature view times, and suggest that we emulate nature to become more integrated with the natural world.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about The Role of Humanism in the Poems of E.E. Cummings

- It can be said that poetry is very much like its poet, seeing as they both contain two different sides: one that is seen while taking your very first glance and another that can only be unearthed and understood through the study of its underlying influences. So it is not unusual that in order to gain a complete and comprehensive outlook on a poem, one must first study nonfiction sources to see the motivation and purpose behind each chosen word. E.E. Cumming’s works, a notable World War I era poet of the modernist movement, were heavily affected by the hatred and atrocities of warfare, which is seen in the way that his resentment towards humanity grows within this period, and thusly reflects...   [tags: Poetry, Poets, Poems]

Good Essays
2195 words (6.3 pages)

The Theme of Nature in Robert Frost's Poetry Essay

- The Theme of Nature in Robert Frost's Poetry Robert Frost is an amazing poet that many admire today. He is an inspiration to many poets today. His themes and ideas are wonderful and are valued by many. His themes are plentiful however a main one used is the theme of nature. Frost uses nature to express his views as well as to make his poetry interesting and easy to imagine in your mind through the detail he supplies. First, in the poem “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” there is a lot of nature expressed....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
392 words (1.1 pages)

Love and Nature in the Poems of Robert Frost Essay

- “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- / I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference.” (Frost 697) Robert Frost was a unique writer of the 20th century. In his poems “Nothing Gold Can Stay” "Birches" "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" "Fire and Ice" and "Mending Wall" Robert Frost explores the theme of nature, and the human emotion love. Robert Frost is considered a humanist and is one of the most well-known American poets. “If the United States ever adopted a national poet, chances are it would be Robert Frost....   [tags: Nothing Gold Can Stay, Birches, Mending Wall]

Good Essays
2316 words (6.6 pages)

A Force of Nature: Imagination in the Poetry of Wallace Stevens and John Ashbery

- ... In this sense, Stevens calls for the reader’s attention to carefully follow the idea and image the poem pictures by structuring this type of sentence. The poem drives the reader to an epistemological concern about the boundaries between reality and imagination. Stevens captures a specific moment: a man beholding a winter landscape, but what does the man really behold. The poem resolves: “the nothing that is” This phrase is precisely what changes the epistemology, described in the previous fourteen lines....   [tags: poems analysis]

Good Essays
1612 words (4.6 pages)

Comparision of Wordsworth and Blake's Poems Essay

- Authors, William Wordsworth and William Blake convey different messages and themes in their poems, “The World is Too Much with Us” and “The Tyger” consecutively by using the different mechanics one needs to create poetry. Both poems are closely related since they portray different aspects of society but the message remains different. Wordsworth’s poem describes a conflict between nature and humanity, while Blake’s poem issues God’s creations of completely different creatures. In “The World is Too Much with Us,” we figure the theme to be exactly what the title suggests: Humans are so self-absorbed with other things such as materialism that there’s no time left for anything else....   [tags: Poetry Analysis, Compare/Contrast]

Good Essays
1519 words (4.3 pages)

The Theme of Love in Poetry Essay

- The Theme of Love in Poetry I have chosen to compare four poems, the first one is 'Porphyrias Lover'. It is written by Robert Browning who died in 1889. The second poem, 'My Last Duchess', is also by Robert Browning. Browning was a great poet in the Victorian age and married Elizabeth Barratt. The third poem is called 'First Love'. It is written by John Clare (1793-1864). The final poem is 'Ballad'. It is an anonymous poem as no-one knows who wrote ballads. This is because they are word of mouth and are passed down through many generations going through minor changes each time and therefore by the end they become a completely different poem to the one in the beginning....   [tags: Love Poetry Poems Robert Browning Essays]

Good Essays
4675 words (13.4 pages)

Poems of Robert Frost Essay

- Robert Frost was an American poet, and playwright who became one of the leading pioneers in poetry in the late 1800’s into the 1900’s. Frost grew up in rural New England in the early twentieth century and experienced many hardships in his life including losing his father at the young age of eleven and losing two children at very young ages. He used his experiences of growing up in a rural area in most of his poems. Another major them in his poems are decision-making poems usually based off of his own life....   [tags: Poetry]

Good Essays
1548 words (4.4 pages)

The Psychology of Robert Frost’s Nature Poetry Essay examples

- The Psychology of Robert Frost’s Nature Poetry Robert Frost’s nature poetry occupies a significant place in the poetic arts; however, it is likely Frost’s use of nature is the most misunderstood aspect of his poetry. While nature is always present in Frost’s writing, it is primarily used in a “pastoral sense” (Lynen 1). This makes sense as Frost did consider himself to be a shepherd. Frost uses nature as an image that he wants us to see or a metaphor that he wants us to relate to on a psychological level....   [tags: Robert Frost Nature Poetry Essays]

Good Essays
3049 words (8.7 pages)

Essay on R.S Thomas Treatment of the Theme Of Old Age In His Poems Lore And

- R.S Thomas Treatment of the Theme Of Old Age In His Poems Lore And An Old Man R.S Thomas was an Anglican minister who was born in 1913 and died in 1965. He ministered in remote parishes in the welsh hillsides amongst hill farmers. The bleak Welsh landscape and the harsh life of the farmers who were his parishioners provided an inspiration for much of his finest poetry. R.S Thomas taught himself the Welsh language in order to understand the hill farmers. Much of his poetry describes their lives in an unsentimental but he does show compassion and understanding for the hard working individuals and the harshness of the conditions they had to endure....   [tags: English Literature]

Good Essays
996 words (2.8 pages)

Comparing the Theme of Nature as Presented by Thomas Hardy and John Keats

- Comparing the Theme of Nature as Presented by Thomas Hardy and John Keats The theme of nature is a popular choice among famous writers of the time like Thomas Hardy and John Keats. The theme of nature is one of the most popular themes of writers of this time as it is a way that the writer can express himself or herself through nature in a way the people can relate to. The first thing I noticed when reading the poems is that the writers use nature in different ways to show their feelings whether it be happy or sad, Beautiful or Bleak....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
463 words (1.3 pages)