Directions: Choose one (1) of the following three poems to write about for your final exam. I
suggest choosing the poem that you best understand and/or speaks to you on some level. Then
write a short, 1- 2-page essay that explains the theme and the various elements of poetry
used (rhyme, meter, form, figurative language, imagery, etc.)

Things of the Sea Belong to the Sea
The shell in my hand, no bigger than my fist,
Is closing down because it must exist.
Hinged like a drawbridge, its embattled gate
Guards the glow of its inner ornament—
The ghost of the oyster that activates the pearl—
The soul within, the world without the pale.
I run my fingers over its grooves and scars
Encrusted with lichen and barnacle and weed—
Medals won in combat, the outer war
It wages with the sea.
I feel the tide
Surge around my ankles—on every side
Suction, pressure, a tugging intensity
Heightened by the grip of what I hold in my hand,
Surrender gently, and step back up on land.
–David George
The bird against my window in the dark
Hit with a thud, like a thrown clod of earth,
But with a darker sound.
The click of its beak
Punctuated its passing, its last breath—
All it had time for, before a bone-breaking shock
Bounce it off and down to the kind of death
It didn’t expect from such a routine flight.
Even when frost paints my window white, they hit.
Like moths, or June-bugs, mesmerized by light,
They just can’t seem to re-align their sights
From what this was before it was a house.
Each time they hit, I wonder if it’s right
To squat where birds believe the sky is theirs—
And if, in fact, the sky is meant to be shared.
–David George



Sample Answer

Sample Answer



Analysis of “Flight-Path” by David George

David George’s poem “Flight-Path” delves into the collision of birds against windows and the contemplation it provokes about the boundaries between human structures and the natural world. Through vivid imagery, figurative language, and a reflective tone, the poem explores themes of mortality, human impact on wildlife, and the conflicting notions of ownership and sharing in the environment.


The central theme of the poem revolves around the clash between nature and human-made structures, symbolized by birds colliding with the speaker’s window. This motif serves as a metaphor for the disruption of natural rhythms and habitats caused by human intervention. The poem raises questions about coexistence, responsibility, and the consequences of encroaching on the domain of wildlife.

Elements of Poetry

1. Imagery: The poem vividly describes the bird’s collision with the window, using sensory details to evoke a sense of sudden impact and mortality. The image of the bird hitting the window like “a thrown clod of earth” creates a stark visual contrast between the fragility of life and the harshness of its end.

2. Figurative Language: The comparison of the bird’s collision to a routine flight disrupted by a house conveys a sense of disorientation and tragedy. The speaker’s contemplation of birds mistaking the window for open sky symbolizes the loss of natural instincts and habitats in the face of human development.

3. Tone: The reflective and contemplative tone of the poem invites readers to ponder the implications of their actions on the environment. The speaker’s introspection about whether birds have a right to the sky underscores a sense of guilt and responsibility for disrupting the natural order.

4. Rhyme and Meter: The poem does not adhere to a strict rhyme scheme or meter, allowing for a free-flowing structure that mimics the erratic flight patterns of the birds. This lack of formal structure reflects the unpredictability and chaos inherent in human-wildlife interactions.


In “Flight-Path,” David George artfully captures the collision between nature and civilization, prompting readers to reflect on the consequences of human encroachment on the natural world. Through poignant imagery and introspective narration, the poem highlights the fragility of life, the complexities of coexistence, and the need for greater awareness of our impact on wildlife. George’s work serves as a poignant reminder of the interconnectedness between humanity and nature, urging us to reconsider our relationship with the environment and strive for harmony and respect in our interactions with the world around us.

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