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Compare the philosophy of poem, "The Cloud" by Percy Bysshe Shelley and the...

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premal | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 27, 2008 at 11:36 PM via web

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Compare the philosophy of poem, "The Cloud" by Percy Bysshe Shelley and the poem, "On Killing the Tree" by Gieve Patel.

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 30, 2008 at 12:58 PM (Answer #1)

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The first excerpt from "On the Killing Tree" expresses nature in a dark and menacing way.  Equating a tree's growth upon the earth with violent images and phrases such as "slowly consuming the earth." Patel speaks from a perspective of life evolving into a painful death for the tree which is difficult to kill.  In the following passage he imagines that maybe the dying tree will drop its essence to the ground and allow it to grow again.  The author draws a feeling of melancholy from the reader, he is unsure of the eternal nature of life, so he leaves his reader with doubts about the subject.  He is more sure of destruction, so there is a bit of a warning in this poem.  It is alarming to read.   

"Not so much pain will do it.
The bleeding bark will heal
And from close to the ground
Will rise curled green twigs,
Miniature boughs
Which if unchecked will expand again
To former size." (Patel)

Shelly's poem is light, full of life and whimsical in nature.  It is delightful to read and gives you a feeling of contentment about the cycle of life that is represented in the cloud's eternal journey over the earth.  It is comforting and reassuring to read this poem because the author assures the reader that the cloud will go on forever, its origins defined below.

"I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die." (Shelley)


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