Term Paper: Poetry Explication

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Poetry explication of "Bushed" by Earle Birney

This is an explication of "Bushed" by Earle Birney. The following explication will deal with the story and situation of the poem as well as the central theme that informs its meaning. Special attention will be paid to the way that language and literary devices enhance and extend the central meaning of the poem.

The central focus of the poem is nature and the way that mankind reacts and relates to nature. The title of the poem also refers to someone who is lost or immersed in the wilderness of nature. The term 'bushed' usually refers to someone who has become confused and disorientated both physically and metaphorically. However the central theme of the poem, I feel, deals with the search for the an understanding of what it means to be human in relation to nature.

The first stanza or section reveals a paradox and a contradiction that seems to haunt the entire poem. This is stated in the first line of the poem

He invented a rainbow but lightning struck it. (1)

This line seems to indicate that the protagonist had certain ideals or plans but that these were "struck by lightning' in a metaphorical sense. In other words, there is a sense that a certain views about life that the protagonist had, have been changed or altered. The reason for this change is explained in the following two lines.

A shattered it into the lap-lake of a mountain so big his mind slowed when he looked at it. (2/3)

The immense power and meaning of nature has been almost too much for the protagonist and has changed his views about life. The immensity and power of nature "slows his mind' in that it is too much to absorb. The poet uses alliteration to emphasize this aspect in the second line - lap-lake - which suggests the beauty and natural rhythm of nature. Therefore the first section establishes the foundation of the poem by placing man directly in relation to the awesome meaning of nature. This confrontation in the wilderness or "bush" also results in an exploration of what it means to be human.

In spite of the "shattering" effect of nature on the protagonist's views and intentions, he perseveres in his confrontation with nature and builds a shack in the wilderness. He experiences the changes and the mysterious communications that nature sends by observing the natural phenomena around him. The poet makes use of colorful… [END OF PREVIEW]

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