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So Many Summers

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  • Pages: 2
  • Word count: 385
  • Category: Summer

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“So Many Summers” by Norman MacCaig is a poem, which has a specific purpose the passage of time and its effects. In this poem the poet uses two objects, a boat and a hind, as metaphors for the passage of time. The poet employs poetic form in order to convey his ideas by using, skilful punctuation, excellent word choice, and an underlying theme of death.

The skilful punctuation MacCaig uses is excellent. There are many commas, and colons used to break up the text. Here the poet sets the scene:

“Beside one loch, a hind’s neat skeleton,

Beside another, a boat pulled high and dry:”

These two lines are comparing human and animal life dying. The punctuation breaks down the lines, giving the reader time to think about what is being said. It also gives the impression of the passage of time since you have to pause after each comma, taking your time like the amount of time it takes for the animal’s skeleton to be seen.

A dash is also used in stanza three:

“Time adds one malice to another one -”

This, again give the reader time to think about what has happened to the dear and the boat over the passage of time. You could not tell which is which until you looked very closely at them. The dash makes the reader stop mid-sentence, making the poem longer to reader, like the length of time it took for the carcass to decay.

The poets use of excellent word choice gives the reader more to think about and

He recounts the Summers he spent fishing and how on two lochs he would pass the boat and the hind and each year notice slight changes in them as they slowly decayed.:

“And, every summer, saw how the bleached timbers

gaped wider and the neat ribs fell away.”

MacCaig shows that the decay reaches such an extent that he cannot tell the difference between the boat and the hind:

“Now you’d look very close before you knew

If it”s the boat that ran, the hind went sailing.”

The last line of the poem draws the reader up short because MacCaig realises that the passage of time has had its effect on him also.

“So many summers, and I have lived them too.”

By choosing a boat and an animal MacCaig suggests that time affects not only living things but objects as well.

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