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As human beings, we tend to go about our lives at the expense of nature. We do little things as swatting little flies or sweeping away a mould made by ants as dirt. We cut down trees to make houses and smoke up the skies with no limited worry about the animals affected by our actions or the damage we do to the environment. Poets have used their field of poetry to try to remind man of the necessity to observe the interest of animals even those as small as a mouse. The poem “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns written in 1785, allows us to reflect on the regard for nature. Burns indicate that the farmer on turning the mouse up in her nest with the plough apologizes simply because he was not aware of the creature’s nest. He was only going about his business trying to make a living by farming. The poem ‘Ah, Are You Digging On My Grave?’ also uses a friendly way of speaking to animals. The persona speaks to the animal in a friendly and natural way. He does not depict cruelty to the animal. In stanza one after exhausting all the possibilities, she gives up asking the question ‘who is there’ after she finds out that it is her dog and not human as she had expected. The author had to use an animal to depict how important animals are our lives and even when we are dead.
The poem "Ah, Are You Digging On My Grave?” by Thomas Hardy speaks about how people no longer cared about the dead woman. The dog is used to justify this supposition since it was only interested in hiding the born for future uses than on the dead buried bellow the mould. The poem by Hardy speaks about the dead who are easily forgotten not only by humans but also by dogs. Incase the dead woman would have been loving, kind, caring, generous, or funny the family and friends would have missed her and thus would have taken care of her grave thus the animal too would have reacted differently on the grave. On the other hand in the poem “To a Mouse” we see how a farmer pities the mouse after unfortunately upending its nest which was already prepared in readiness for the cold winter. The persona appears genuinely sorry about the disturbance the he has caused on the mouse’s nest. He therefore writes the poem as a message directed to the mouse. He begins by describing the scared mouse and explaining that he was not intending to kill the poor little animal. In line one of the first stanza, the poet explains that the mouse did not have to skitter away from him because he was not intending to run after it with the intention of killing it.
The poem “The Eagle” is a different portrayal of animals it gives the reader a glimpse into the world of an eagle. It portrays the eagle as a powerful bird that is always at a strategic position. In the initial three lines we are able to see a picture a bird that is in a lofty position on a ‘crag’ and ‘close to the sun.’ Unlike the ‘mouse’ and the ‘dog,’ the eagle is liken to human because the poet has indicated that the bird has got hands like human being. In the second line, unlike human beings, the bird is always on ‘lonely lands’ (“The Eagle” 8). The word used indicates that eagle is always a solitude bird. The eagle’s position of the eagle is elevated that any other animal. This is picked from the third line ‘Ringed with the azure world.’ The author therefore focuses on the elevated position of the eagle.
Burns in his “To a mouse” portrays man as being too sympathetic to the animal from the way the farmer is looking at the destroyed nest of the mouse. He feels guilty for harming the little creature. Burns opens his poem with a direct address followed by affective pause after the first four lines in order to give emphasis on his attitude towards theanimal. On his first and second lines he writes, “Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie –O, what a panic's in thy breastie!” (“To a Mouse” 7). Animal in Hardy’s poem has been used to indicate the power animals have that man does not. The animal is able to think of the dead while we go about our daily chores not remembering graves. Despite being dead, the woman shows some happy feelings when she discovers that at least the dog were faithful to her. This is because she feels that in hiding the born on the mould, the animal was showing some emotional attachment. The speaker says in line three of the second stanza that “That one true heart was left behind!” (“Ah, Are You Digging On My Grave?” 561) indicating happiness.
The eagle is portrayed differently than the mouse and the dog in that in the second line of the second stanza the poet writes, ‘He watches from his mountain walls’ (“The Eagle” 8) to show that the eagle’s position is secure and protected. Despite being powerful it still has to fly to the secure location of its mountain walls. From the position of the eagle, the second stanza creates a picture that it is below the mountain top. It is justified from the first line of the second stanza thus “The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls” (“The Eagle” 8). From the elevated position, the eagle is able to see the waves as wrinkles. This indicates how far above it is from the sea. Burns on the other hand, creates animals as having a destiny and thus man sees himself as not different as the mouse. In the second and third stanzas, Burn was trying to bridge the gap between the mouse and himself. He builds up a picture of the plight of mouse and contrasted it with the plans laid in the future. Consequently, Hardy uses animals in his poem to portray an embodiment of faithful devotion that is not depicted by man. Humans soon forget their loved ones who are buried. They do not even plant flowers on the grave. This is eminent when the old woman complains in the tenth, eleventh, twelfth and the thirteenth line that "Ah, no: they sit and think, 'What use!/What good will planting flowers produce?/No tendance of her mound can loose/Her spirit from Death's gin'" (“Ah, Are You Digging On My Grave?” 561). In Hardy’s poem, animal instinct is brought out to stand out in the least needed situations. They are able to express concern where humans fail. Animal thus becomes the best companion of man even at the time of death because they will always pass by.
The poem “To a mouse” indicates that man feels and reflects that small animal too have dreams of creating a safe nest for themselves but are not successful through their skimming and planning because man has destroys their dreams. The mouse’s life is interesting to him because its plight reminds him of his own life’s ups and downs. The comparison given by the poet despite lacking emotions creates a gap between man and mouse but is bridged in a friendly comparison. Just like the mouse, Burns and any other human being, attempt to create own safe heaven but life and challenges interfere a great deal. Human is compared to the animal because animals can plan just as we, can organize and plot ways through their lives. In most cases, despite the planning, things do not always turn out the way we want them. Burns make this observation through the parallel life of the mouse and the farmer.
The eagle in ‘The Eagle’ is portrayed as a killer bird in that, the poet creates an image of a bird with swift and powerful descent on pray. The simile highlights the killer’s nature of the eagle and thus uses the line ‘And like a thunderbolt he falls’ in the last line of the second stanza (“The Eagle” 8). It is able to fly so high and at the same time dive so fast down to the earth. The eagle is also represented as humans by the use of the words ‘he’ and ‘hands.’ The word hand was used by the poet to create a link between the bird and the reader. It is therefore able to hold a crag. The other two animals my live closer to man but the eagle always lives away from people in very high mountains with walls. Hardy is able to create man who is disappointed by fellow men but is not disappointed by animals around them. It is highlighted in the poem that no human love or hate outlasts death but that of the dog is eminently visible since they don’t forget. The animal will always be there when you need it. Even when fellow human are not concerned about you, animals will always be passing by. In the fifth stanza, we find out that animals are no different from man in that they too will not be concerned about you, like the dog which was just on the move, all animals will mistakenly trod upon the forgotten graves.
Man is addressing mouse as though he was speaking to a friend thus Burn is identifying with animals in the human world. The animal is raised to the level of man since Burns sees that there is no other level more dignified, worthier or noble than that of man. Animals in the poems “Ah, Are You Digging On My Grave?” and “To A Mouse” both run away from humans when they mistakenly cross paths. It entirely seems that the woman had not lived on in the memories of friends, relatives and the dog but rather, everything that she was to them was sealed when she went under the grave. The dog for example, believes that the grave is a place to bury bones but not for showing affections. The eagle is also depicted as a king since it stands in high places watching over “the azure world.” This emphasizes how powerful the eagle looks. The waves despite being big and powerful for man and other animals, for the eagle it is like the wrinkles. The waves are small and harmless since it is always high above. On the other hand, after bridging the link between him and the mouse, Burns proceeds to use the word ‘us’ in the second last line of the last stanza thus “An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain” to bring the world together on the plight of mortal creatures.
Finally, the poem “The Eagle” only shows us the greatness of the bird unlike the poems “To A Mouse” and the poem “Ah, Are You Digging On My Grave?” which only speaks about the relationship man has with the animals. The eagle has been used by the poet to attribute an ambiguous rather than a treatise on the nature of the bird. The poet uses short fragmented words to convey a sense of the situations eagles encounter. “Like a thunderbolt he falls” depicts how fast the eagle dives on its prey. This cannot be seen in the mouse and the dog in their respective poems. Burns indicate that the farmer on turning the mouse up in her nest with the plough apologizes simply because he was not aware of the creature’s nest. He was only going about his business trying to make a living by farming. The poem ‘Ah, Are You Digging On My Grave?’ also uses a friendly way of speaking to animals. The persona speaks to the animal in a friendly and natural way. He does not depict cruelty to the animal. On the contrary, the poem “The Eagle” is a different portrayal of animals since it gives the reader a glimpse into the world of an eagle. It portrays the eagle as a powerful bird that is always at a strategic position. In the initial three lines we are able to see a picture a bird that is in a lofty position on a ‘crag’ and ‘close to the sun.’ Unlike the ‘mouse’ and the ‘dog,’ the eagle is liken to human because the poet has indicated that the bird has got hands like human being.
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