Crossing the Swamp

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Crossing the Swamp

Throughout "Crossing the Swamp," a poem by Mary Oliver, many poetic devices and figurative languages are depicted. By using these devices, Mary Oliver is able to develop the relationship between the speaker and the swamp.

The entirety of the poem is a metaphor of a man's crisis in life. The first part of the poem, or until "into the black, slack," is dark. This portion depicts the darkness's of life, such as death and the hard ships. The third stanza mentions "…here/ is struggle, / closure --/ pathless, seamless / peerless mud… "which is a reference to life. Life is full of struggles like the struggles one would have trying to cross a swamp. There is no clear path or a person aiding you while you cross the mode, as there is no one to help you through the "hipholes, hammocks" in life. The mans' "… bones / knock together at the pale / joints …" which shows that the man's struggles in life have been long and tedious. The struggle has been so lengthy that it has even begun to wear on the bones and joints in his body. Imagery is used to give the readers feeling of disgust and sorrow. Words such as "mud," "dark blurred / faintly belching bogs" give a negative connotation and make people think of darkness, specifically, the darkness's in life.

The second portion of the poem brings up the idea that one should have hope that after the struggle, everything will work out for the better. "I feel / not wet so much as / painted and glittered" which gives the idea that the man's struggles may be bad, but they also have their plus sides in the end. This could mean that after all the struggles that the results are worth it. The lines "a bough / that still, after all these years, / could take root, / sprout. Branch out, bud -- / make of its like a breathing / palace of leaves" show that even though the man is in the midst of struggle, there is hope that when it is over there will be a "palace of leaves." Again the language also gives the dealings of hope...
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