Paul Bruton American Short Forms Final Paper The Poem “One Day at a Florida Key by Robert Bly is spectacular. It captures the beauty of the Florida Keys and how life naturally exists there. It uses a great detail of description. In sum it exemplifies the Florida Keys way of life by using many formal issues and saying by how the pelicans live and show our way of life through living theirs. The first formal issue addressed in this poem is imagery. Imagery is a set of mental pictures or images created by a piece of writing.
This gives you a mental picture of the Florida Keys. “And the sea having slept all night seems heated, immobile, uncentralized, robust, abundant, low- voiced. On a dead tree just above offshore, fourteens pelicans are trying their wings and encouraging their stomach linings. Now they look down and see the helpless fish once more”. This sets a picture of the sea being calm and motionless yet still being a very powerful force in the setting. This then sets a mental picture of the quest of the pelicans to get their prey in the fish for food.
The author conveys a sense of how a pelican survives and lives. Yet again imagery is seen in the poem when it says “ We see dark ragged lines of trees, braced behind shiny, coppery water, given a momentary further darkness by a leaping fish, given broad strokes of murder by a pelican lumbering shoreward”. The author here gives you an image of the fish jumping from the murky coppery water of the sea not knowing what’s ahead. Finally imagery is seen in the last paragraph when it says “Just before dark, the rosy band left by the setting sun to evaporate.
The sun disk is gone, leaving behind the solitary, funeral, and obscure, Jesuitical, cloud-reflecting, cloud-worshipping, altar-mad, boat strewn Florida waters”. This imagery of the sun going down and the Florida waters conveys a message that the sun brings promise to the area of the Florida Keys and then when the sun goes down the island feels a sense of loneliness which .. I believe this is true for us also, I know when the sun is out compared to a gloomy rainy day I am in a much better mood and feel like doing a lot more things and when I am feeling gloomy or sad I also try to be religious.
The author also foreshadows or portrays what’s coming ahead for the fish and how he will eventually get murdered or eaten by the fish. This conveys the importance of the necessity to survive in the everyday world we live today. This portrays the concept of survival of the fittest and how important it is to live within our means. The next formal issue addressed is when they use a simile in the poem. A simile is used when they say “given broad strokes of murder by a pelican lumbering shoreward, then diving with a splash like a car wreck, rising cradling a fish in his bill, and so emerging triumphant”.
Although there is only one simile in this poem I believe this symbolizes a lot in the poem and about life. This effectively says how the pelican was determined to get the fish as food for survival and how the fish was helpless as part of this feat. It’s kind of like a cycle of nature. It is like survival of the fittest. Everyone needs different things in order to survive. The message of this explains how we must always be determined, never give up and we will be triumphant or victorious in life as the pelican was. We all strive to emerge triumphant in everything we do, it means doing the best we can always.
For example I want to do well at college so I can have a good career in the future. Athletes always strive to improve and win every week, especially at the professional level, when they know their living wage depends on it. This is an example of survival of the fittest cause in the workforce or in the NFL if you don’t succeed or aren’t determined to make it, you’ll get cut and this is what this poem is telling us is you have to always be determined to succeed in life and have goals, just like the pelican had a plan of attack for how he was going to kill or “murder” the fish in order to survive, we have to have a plan in life to survive.
I mean look at the simile, the pelican was diving like crazy because he needed that fish to survive. This symbolizes the will for all of us to survive. I would categorize this poem into a survival and what goes on in the course of a day. I identified it like this because it says here we are at Whitehorse key it is early morning. The tide is out. Hints of earlier and other creation”. And the sea having slept all night” maybe this means the beginning of a mourning for them