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SPEAKER: On the literal level, this poem is spoken by mushrooms! They describe how they quietly grow through the "loam" (the soil) and eventually reach the air. Using "hammers" and "rams" they push aside "small grains" and "even the paving." Although they require "little or nothing," they grow into mulititudes:
So many of us!
So many of us!
Eventually, they will "inherit the earth."
On a symbolic level, perhaps the mushrooms represent the development of young people, particularly teenagers, as they slowly push aside their elders and create their own kind of society.
With this interpretation, we can identify the poem's OCCASSION, AUDIENCE, and PURPOSE:
It is written on the "occasion" of the poet's youth; its intended audience is her youthful comrades (as a "call-to-arms") and to the adult world, as a "warning."
The poem's STYLE, as mentioned before, is an extended metaphor, using the IMAGERY of the growing mushrooms.
SOUND: The poem is written in short lines of just 5 syllables each. Although the poem does not have a regular rhyme scheme, some of the lines do rhyme or come close to rhyming. For example:
Stanza 1: very, discreetly, quietly
Stanza 2: noses, loam
Stanzas 5-6: Earless and eyeless, Perfectly voiceless
The poem uses the word "we" 6 times. It uses the word "us" 4 times. This emphasizes the individualism and independence of the speaker.
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