What is the significance of tears in William Henry Davies's "The Kingfisher"?
In Davies' "The Kingfisher," the poet is directly addressing a kingfisher. He suggests that the kingfisher took its beautiful colors from its mother, "the Rainbow," and also that the mother of the rainbow "was Tears." Tears, then, is a personification here: the poet seems to be suggesting that rainbows—which are caused by the combination of rain and sunshine—are somehow also a product of sadness. The association between rain and sorrow brings us to the idea of tears.
Davies continues the semantic field of tears and sorrow by suggesting that he, the poet, like the kingfisher, enjoys a "lonely pool," far away from people, where he can (like a dead person) "haunt" the space alongside "trees that weep." The motif of tears seems to represent mourning or appreciation of sad, lonely places. The kingfisher is a "glorious" and "proud" bird which could equally display itself before kings and in open spaces, but the poet feels an affinity with it because, as an ultimate descendant of "tears," it prefers modesty and quiet contemplation—as the poet does himself.
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