What does Reeves mean by the line "he bounds to his feet and snuffs and sniffs"?
You have asked about the twelfth line of the poem called "The Sea," written by James Reeves, a twentieth-century British writer. In this poem, the speaker compares the sea to a "hungry dog" that rolls on the beach and gnaws at the stones, moaning and licking his paws. In the second stanza, the speaker describes the sea at night, how the sea "bounds to his feet and snuffs and sniffs," shaking wet all over the cliffs and howling loudly. In other words, then, it seems as though the sea becomes more wild at night. During the day, the "dog" of the sea stays upon the beach and performs small actions, but, at night, the dog becomes quite unruly, the waves coming in taller and louder, smashing into the cliff bottoms and spraying their sides. To say that the dog bounds to his feet seems to reference the increased height of the waves, and he "snuffs and sniffs" making loud and varied sounds as those waves crash against the cliffs.
check Approved by eNotes Editorial