This nine line section at the end of the poem begins, "So he who strongly feels, / behaves." The meaning here is that one who feels passionately will also behave and act with passion. One might think here of Martin Luther King or Mahatma Ghandi. Both King and Gandhi felt...
This nine line section at the end of the poem begins, "So he who strongly feels, / behaves." The meaning here is that one who feels passionately will also behave and act with passion. One might think here of Martin Luther King or Mahatma Ghandi. Both King and Gandhi felt passionately about equality and independence, and both, consequently, acted with passion to bring about positive change.
The next part of this final nine line section reads, "The very bird, grown taller as he sings, steels / his form straight up." Here, Moore is using the singing bird as an example of how people should live. A bird sings and, in doing so, stands tall and proud. Moore is suggesting that people too, should sing or express themselves in some way and be proud to do so. Just as a bird can be true to its own nature by singing, so too can a person be true to their own nature by expressing themselves.
The next lines read,
Though he is captive,
his mighty singing
says, satisfaction is a lowly
thing, how pure a thing is joy.
Here, Moore emphasizes the power of self-expression. Even in captivity, a bird's singing can bring it joy. In the same way, even in difficult circumstances, a person can be joyful through self-expression. In this section of the poem, Moore also encourages people not to settle merely for satisfaction but to aim for joy, which is the result of self-expression in its most "pure" form.
In the final two lines of the poem, Moore writes, "This is mortality, / this is eternity." At first, these two lines seem to contradict one another. "This," being self-expression, cannot be at once "mortality" and its opposite, "eternity." However, perhaps the meaning here is that accepting our mortality and thus the essential nature of our humanity is a prerequisite to self-expression. Only when one accepts one's mortality can one fully appreciate the value and beauty of emotions and self-expression. And when one can achieve this, one's spirit can endure beyond one's physical "mortality" and live for "eternity."