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The poem 'Seal' by William Jay Smith starts with a description of the seal's actions and asks the reader to watch it with him. Action words or verbs used include 'dive,dart swim.' The poet describes some of the scenery the seal passes (watery room, seaweed.) The poet gives a vivid and action-filled description of the skilful way in which the seal moves in water (with a swerve,flicker,twist,flick.) He describes how the seal can dive to the bottom and flash back up again in terms of measuring the time it takes the reader to eat or think or speak. The whole poem is full of the speed of the seal and ends up at the reader's feet,like the seal, who turns up there with a mouthful of the fish he has caught on his travels!
The poem Seal is a shape poem. “Shape Poetry- written in the shape or form of an object.” (Poem of Quotes). The shape of the poem is important because it guides the reader visually. As the reader moves through descriptive words such as dives and darts, his eyes also travel in a patterned response which demonstrates the movement of the seal. “He swims with a swerve and a twist.” (Dpi.state.nc.) The lines mentally illustrate the seals movement and the style of the peom reflects this movement.
To summarize the poem, I would have to say that the poem takes the reader through whimiscal moments as the seals performs daily activites foraging for food in the depth of the water while moving his body in a graceful, but playful manner.
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