“Eagle Poem”

“Eagle Poem” by Joy Harjo bonds the notion of tranquility with nature and prayer. The poem uses natural references to expound more on its theme on Mother Nature and the inseparable ability to disconnect people from nature. She advocates for the connection with prayer and nature and calls for collectiveness and peace in the state of mind. ”To pray you open your whole self, To sky, to earth, to moon, To one whole voice that is you” (line 1-3), the persona speaks of revealing oneself to nature speaking out what is in the heart and mind, prayer in this case is viewed as something powerful or rather supernatural where the body is intertwined with the natural aspects to achieve wholeness in a person in quest for reconciliation with self. The next six lines expound on the perceptions during prayer, one feels fresh, rejuvenated in a totally new environment. Harjo culminates the aspect of prayer and nature, she juxtaposes the two as independent factors that human beings cannot do without; nature comes with calming effect just as prayer in achieving wonderful state of the mind. The poet uses literary devices such as metaphors and imagery to develop the covert and overt themes; similes are used in comparing the circle of life to that of an eagle similarly that of the eagle to an angle. Through contrast the reader’s attention is drawn closer by the poet using the extreme ends “to the sky ,to the earth”(line 2). Harjo hints that animism surpasses mortality, the sacred aspect of nature  is depicted “we see you we see ourselves and know that we must take utmost care and kindness in all things”(line 14-15) by integrating the circling eagle the poet achieves an act of sacral purity and ultimately dedicates kindness to all things. The poet addresses one main idea and develops the reader’s gist as the poem continues it maintains the core idea of prayer, nature and animals until it comes to an end.

Thomas Hardy’s poem “The Man He Killed “was written in honor of voicing out his feeling about the Boer wars that cut into the historical and time setting during his time. During this time a lot of people in Great Britain were in support of this war, however he was against it, the poet makes the war personal in the poem this is seen through using the first person narration, this makes the readers personalize with his feeling achieving his ultimate aim as the poet. The harsh realities of war are also seen in the poem. The poem tone is contemptuous and somber the mood is vengeful, in the first stanza “Had he and I but met, by some old ancient inn we should have sat us down to wet “(lines 1-3) the poem begins with a hypothetical approach, the readers are able to draw from this the humanity of each approach of the persona and the addressee, the second stanza brings the readers from the imagined to the real state of affairs ,the speaker is contemplative in this stanza and gives a deep thought of the shooting that spared his life the persona says he killed him in his place this is evident in the eighth line. After shooting the man the speaker is caught into turmoil and tries to justify why he shot him though he does not come out clear enough, although he addresses him as an enemy at first at the end of this stanza the persona is not at peace with his action. Self-conflict as literary device comes out clearly due to the personas inability to justify his actions .Even though it was a period of war it was not still justifiable to kill the other party. The fourth stanza develops the thematic concern of the quest for humanity and peace keeping, he lacks the reason to justify the reason why he killed and cannot explain this ”Was out of work –had sold his straps-No other reason why”(line 15-16).The last stanza presents the theme of war, Hardy juxtaposes  the battleground with a bar ,the poet uses the I narration to preach peace through the poem, the poet questions how war takes away the logic and the tranquility that comes with peace.”Yes quaint and curious war is “(line 17) war separates and consequently takes humanity from people.

Sir Patrick Spens is an ancient ballad, a number of ballads tell a tragic story, this particular one expounds on the role of fate and mortality that people who live on earth ought to die at some point. The ballad commences by introducing the major characters, the King who is static but his orders make people be on the move. The first 10 lines introduce us to the King and the sailor Sir Patrick Spens; he has been appointed to undertake a journey, this is an honor but ironically the journey is dreadful and difficult journey. Spens is an expert in sailing, brave and skillful but this cannot save him from his fate .Although he is reluctant the king addresses a letter to him, with a royal signature and it ought to be obeyed. In the fourth stanza “The first line that Sir Patrick red, A loud lauch lauched”, Spens ironically laughs not knowing his impending encounter with fate, he fails to realize how crucial it is. His fate can be alluded to Oedipal Fall, the fatal voyage foreshadows the fate sealed and therefore the sailor must partake the journey. In the line the sailor hopes that his master would change his mind, the dark shape of the moon symbolizes a bad omen, situational irony is seen the sailor sees this and hopes that his journey will be called off but his fate is already predetermined. The ship wreck exhibits a perfect example of a trick in fate, the women await their lords but their men fail to show up, the ship is wrecked by the storm. The theme of power and authority is evident in the play, the king exercises power without hardship, oppression of the subjects is seen. Sir Patrick is symbolic of the oppressed in the European society at that time,


All the poems analyzed bear a unique characteristic to question humanity, the ballad and Hardy’s poem advocate for a better and a non-stratified society ,whereas the eagle poem advocates to reconcile man with nature.

Work Cited

Joy Harjo ”Eagle Poem” p 400

Thomas Hardy “The Man He Killed” p 399


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