Whip Poor Will

Topics: Nightjar, Poetry, Caprimulgus Pages: 2 (520 words) Published: June 8, 2005
Whip-poor-will explanation

The poem, "Whip-poor-will" by Donald Hall is written beautifully with a sense of nature and family. Throughout this poem, Hall illustrates these natural occurrences, such as the "sandy ground", "the last light of June", and "a brown bird in the near—night, soaring over shed and woodshed to far dark fields". The bird in this instance is a whippoorwill, defined as a nocturnal nightjar of Eastern North America that uses loud, repetitive calls suggestive of its name. The whippoorwill is an imaginary representation of the poets long lost grandfather. The whippoorwill is active at night, when the subject of the poem is asleep, indicating that the memory of his grandfather is not needed at that time. When he hears the call "Wes-ley-Wells" each morning, he understands his responsibility of labor on the family farm. The speaker is carrying on the tradition with his work that was done long ago by his grandfather, Wesley Wells. Once the whippoorwill has woken the speaker in the poem, the bird can "drowse all morning in his grassy hut."(lines 24 &25) This makes it seem like the instant the speaker is awake, the whippoorwill's everyday job is done. A sense of relief comes about in the last stanza. By saying, "It is good to wake early in the high summer with work to do, and look out the window at the ghost bird lifting away to drowse all morning in his grassy hut"(lines 18-25), the speaker of the poem seems satisfied that his grandfather no longer has to work in the fields, and enjoys the fact that he is able to rest comfortably without having to worry about the daily struggles of laboring on a farm. It also seems like the speaker enjoys his work plowing fields, which is a nice change from the ordinary. He illustrates this by writing, "It is good to wake early in the high summer with work to do."(lines 18 &19) The whippoorwill also seems relieved in that he no longer has to face the daily fatigue he once did. There seems to be a...
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