Use of Nature in Poetry

Poets use many ways when they want to communicate something using poems. Poems are used as a means of passing ideas, information and expression of feelings. This has made the poets to use the natural things and images that people can relate with so that they can make these poems understandable. The most common forms of writing that are used by the poets are the figurative language for example imagery and metaphors. In addition, the poets use the natural landscape in their attempt to explore the philosophical questions.
Therefore, this essay will explore the forms that have been used by the poets in writing poems using the natural landscape. The essay will be based on poems such as ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ by Robert Frost, ‘Ode to the West Wind’ by Shelley and ‘Swan and Shadow’ by John Hollanders. The poets use different styles and techniques in writing poems. They employ varying styles of writing poems that include the styles of literature such as symbolism. This has necessitated the use of the natural landscape to pass the ideas for which the poem was intended.
When the natural landscape is used in poetry, it necessitates a creation of the mind through imagination. The reader of the poem will be in a position of deriving the meaning of the poem from what he reads. This has been demonstrated by J. Hollander in his poem the ‘Swan and Shadow’. Hollander starts his poem with a description of the Dusk above the water hang the loud flies. This will give the reader a figurative image of what the poet meant because it relates to what is found in nature. The natural physical landscape is also used by the poets because it can be easily related with and therefore it is used as a simile.

The similes are literary techniques used when we want to relate something with another item with similar attributes. Therefore, it will be easier to understand the poems when the poets apply techniques that are familiar with the reader. This presents the reason behind the poets using the natural landscape because the reader must have related with the nature. Shelley in his poem ‘Ode to the West Wind’ has used similes in his poem. He states that, “the leaves dead are driven like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing. ” He also states that, “the winged seeds where they lie cold and low each like a corpse within its grave. As observed from these examples, the poets will use these techniques to assist in easier interpretation of the poem. The poets also use metaphors when writing poems. Metaphors refer to the use of certain words to mean otherwise in the context of the poem. However, metaphors are sometimes hidden in the poem such that they require the reader to figure out their existence in the poem. This will be easy when the poet employs the physical environment that is well understood by the reader. In addition, metaphors will strengthen the ideas that the poet wants to pass across.
Metaphors will therefore make it easier for the readers to interpret and understand the meaning that the poet intended to communicate. Shelley has used a metaphor in his poem where he states ‘…Pestilence-stricken multitudes’. He states this to indicate to the reader that he is not just addressing a pile of leaves. Therefore, this helps to understand the deeper meaning of the poem. He also states about the ‘wintry bed’, which is meant to show his mood in the poem. Poets also use the landscape in writing poems because of the inspiration that they get from such places.
This could be based on some memory or the history of the place and therefore it inspires the writer of the poem. This could help the poet to pass some information that can be easily related with such a situation. Robert Frost in his poem ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’, writes about his experience in the wood in a snowy evening. He states that though the wood would protect him from the snow, he had to get home to sleep because it was getting late. The poet was indicating the obligations that he was supposed to perform though he could protect himself from the snow.
The poet has also employed personification where he refers to the horse and states that his horse would find it queer when he stood by the woods where there was no farmhouse nearby. By stating the above, he gave the horse some human attributes. The poet has used nature to indicate that though he would have stayed in the woods to see as they are covered with snow, he had to fulfill his promises through carrying out his duties. The poets also use personification by referring to the natural landscape in showing some human attributes.
Personification refers to the use of human attributes on non-humans such as animals. Such attributes includes beauty, ugliness and gentleness or ferocity. These attributes are reflected through the use of figurative language that represents the people. These include the metaphors and the similes. Therefore, the natural landscape will be used in comparing these attributes with those of the human beings. This is related with what the people understand that is found in the environment. The writer of the poems will use descriptive words that are given to the natural landscape that has been personified.
This will help in showing the human attributes indirectly when the deeper meaning of the poem is derived. The three poems help to mirror poetic concerns over the transitory nature of life. In the poem ‘Stopping by the woods on a Snowy Evening’ by Robert Frost, the woods are described as dark and deep. He also states that it was the “…darkest evening of the year”. This gives a picture of a place where there was no one living. Frost has also stated that the woods were located in a place where there was no farmhouse because though he knew the owner, he lived in the village.
The poet is trying to show existence of some isolation. This is evident that the poems are not written in a direct manner but they present the reader with an opportunity to figure out what was the meaning of the poem. The poets have used poems to communicate some message about how people live in the society. The poems always have the literal meaning and the deeper meaning that requires a deeper understanding of what the poet tried to communicate. In addition, we observe that the speaker of the poem implies that he could be in the wrong for trespassing in someone’s land.
He shows that he is out of order and therefore he is supposed to go to sleep in his place because it is already dark in the evening. The writer tried to show the obligations that people have in life and therefore they are supposed to be time conscious while doing their activities. Also, the poem could have a deeper meaning that implies a transition from one life to another. This occurs where the speaker states in the last line that he has miles to go before he sleeps. The sleep could mean death in this context. This poem shows how the poets employ the poetic techniques and styles to bring forth ideas about life to the reader.
The poem ‘Ode to the West Wind’ by Shelley also indicates the poetic techniques that are employed by the poets. The poem brings out the element of transition because he reveals his thoughts like the winged seeds are trapped. When the poet refers to the ‘West Wind’, he implies a driving force for transition in the human. Shelley has also implied the winter as not just the last phase of vegetation but also as a transition in the individual life, that includes civilization and religion. Therefore, the poet was symbolic when he referred to the West Wind.
The West Wind is implied as carrying the dead thoughts in the individuals. Shelley was more concerned with the transitions that happen in people’s lives in his poem. Shelley uses the words “winged seeds”, which he likens with a feeling of being trapped. By reference to the seeds, it shows that even when death occurs, there will be new life that will grow out of the ‘grave’. The poet has also written about images of religion that help creates new life. It is evident from the poem that poems are just a shadow of what is happening in the society.
This is because they will indicate the changes that occur in the lives of individuals. John Hollander’s poem ‘Swam and Shadow’ has various visual images that are used to increase the understanding of the reader of the poem. He uses figurative language such as describing the water as “breaking up no being gathered”. This makes the poem beautiful in that the reader is left to imagine about the startle of the wings when a swan wants to fly. The poem has created a transition of moods where sometimes it is sad and on other occasions, the mood of the poem is lovely.
The poet implies the disappearance of the swan, which would imply their death when they fly. This therefore presents the sad tone of the poem. We also see that the poet has applied a technique where the whole poem is not punctuated. We just guess the starting of a sentence if there is a capital letter. This makes it hard to differentiate the thoughts of the poet. This style makes the poem unique and therefore it is interesting because of the prose form. This poem also illustrates transition because it describes the flies that are found in the dusk hanging above the water.
However, the writer describes that; ‘their shadow will disappear and fade’. The disappearance of the swan represents death, which marks a transition from one form of life to another. This has been described when the poem comes to end where the poet states that ‘…yes by then a swan will have gone yes out of mind…. ’ In conclusion, we observe that most poets will always use the natural environment when they want to communicate something. They will use the natural landscape and other creatures that are found in the environment. This is meant to assist the reader in the easier understanding of the poems.

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