What is a detailed summary of the poem "Bat" by D. H. Lawrence?

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In his poem "Bat," D. H. Lawrence describes sitting on a terrace somewhere in Florence, Italy, "beyond Pisa, beyond the mountains of Carrara," watching the sun go down.

Suddenly he sees something flying through the arches of the Ponte Vecchio. At first, he thinks they are swallows with "spools of dark thread sewing the shadows together." However, it is too late for swallows and, confused, he starts to wonder what these flying objects"like a glove, a black glove thrown up at the light"could be.

They are bats and they give the poet a sense of dread. According to Lawrence, Bats are "wildly vindictive." They don't just swoop, but fly "madly," causing "an uneasy creeping in one's scalp." He even seems to consider whether they are actually creatures at all, describing them as "little lumps that fly in the air" and their wings as "bits of umbrella."

As the poem continues, Lawrence becomes increasingly disparaging of the animal. He says he hates how they hang upside down and grin in their sleep. He says when they are grouped together like that they look like "rows of disgusting old rags."

He finishes the poem by saying that while bats are a symbol of happiness in China, they are a symbol of misery to him.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on March 11, 2020
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