Analysis of Summer Farm by Norman MacCaig

Norman MacCaig

Analysis of ‘Summer Farm’ by Norman MacCaig

Analysis of ‘Summer Farm’ by Norman MacCaig

1) The poet uses a simile to compare the dried grass lying around the farm to lightning that has been tamed.

2) He uses vivid visual imagery to give the reader a picture of how the straw lies around the farm and on the hedges. In the second line itself, using enjambment, the poet uses a simile too, to compare the water in the horse trough to glass.

3) The poet describes the glistening green water in the horse trough. The word ‘shines’ also indicates a bright and sunny day.

4) To add to the visual imagery the poet uses kinaesthetic imagery, describing ducks wobbling by in front of him. He adds detail by adding numbers like ‘nine ducks’ and ‘two straight lines’.

5) The poet seems to zoom in closer in his memory when he mentions a hen that stares into oblivion. This description has metaphorical connation, in which the hen is an extended metaphor for a thought-less mind.

6) The poet uses kinaesthetic imagery to describe the hen picking up a grain or grub. Almost like an afterthought, he mentions the emergence of action from the empty sky.

7) Using enjambment, the poet describes a swallow swooping down and flying in front of him. This kinaesthetic imagery also throws light on the extended metaphor for a stray thought that suddenly arises in a blank mind.

8) Continuing with the kinaesthetic imagery and using enjambment, he describes the movement of the bird (thought) through the barn (mind).He continues to describe the potential of our thoughts to appear and disappear effortlessly.

9) Typical of a curtal sonnet, the poet now introduces the fact that he is a part of this experience. He uses tactile imagery to describe the setting.

10) He displays apprehension about how a random thought could disturb his peace of mind and serenity that he feels in the setting.

11) The poet once more resorts to a metaphor, describing a grasshopper (that symbolizes the human mind), waiting prior to flight (the mind about to be filled with thought).

12) Using enjambment and continuing with metaphorical connotation, he describes an insect that takes to flight, indicating the readiness of the human mind to get preoccupied with thought.

13) Like a typical sonnet the last stanza discloses the true meaning of the imagery and connotations. The poet reveals that the sights and sounds of the farm enable him to realize that the human soul is shrouded by experiences that form layers over one’s personality during a lifetime.

14-15) The poet describes how experiences in our lives are collected in time and if man chooses to conscientiously look within, and uses a metaphysic hand, one would be able to open the doors to the soul and discover the true ‘self’.

16)The poet expresses his own experience in doing so by mentioning his discovery of his true self beneath the pile of experiences gathered over time.

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