What is the summary of "Shining Things" by Elizabeth Gould, and what is the main theme of this poem ?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This is a poem told from a child's point of view. We know this because of the lines

I love the bright beads round
my mother's throat.

The child-speaker lists in simple language many shiny things he loves. These include items a child would be likely to stop and wonder at: the moon, the stars, the sky, a rainbow, and 'bright clouds," as well as smaller objects a child would notice, such as a glow worm, raindrops on leaves, the shine of a butterfly's wings, the cat's shining green eyes, and shiny coat buttons. The child-speaker ends his long list of shiny objects by saying he takes comfort in all these shining things. He then thinks to note that it was good of God to make all these items.

The theme or meaning of the poem is to encourage adult readers to remember to take a childlike pleasure and delight in the simple objects of life, which are freely available to all of us to enjoy.

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litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In this poem, the poet discusses things that are shining and why she loves them.  All of the first examples are form nature, such as the moon, stars, sun, glow-worms, butterflies, and a cat’s eyes.  The next examples are man-made, including beads and candles.  The theme is that we need to find and enjoy beauty around us.  The poem ends with the line, “The beauty of all shining things is yours and mine/It was a lovely thought of God to make things shine.”  The implication for theme is that we should enjoy the world and each other.

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