Edward Thomas

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What do "plume" and "flight" and "bright voice" mean in this stanza? "And birds of bright voice and plume and flight,As well as scraps from neighbours’ pails."

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This description of the birds highlights their beauty and vitality. They are vivid, colourful and engaging in all respects: in the way they sound, and in their appearance ('plume' refers to feathers) and the way that they fly. We are not told exactly what kind of birds these are; we are simply given this general, glowing picture of them. This attractive portrayal of the birds deliberately contrasts with the next line which refers to garbage, 'the scraps from neighbours' pails'. These lines are from Edward Thomas's poem 'A Cat' and describe what the cat likes to eat; she will eat anything to survive.

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