The poems: “The Geese,” “The Purse-Seine,” “Wild Geese,” and “A Noiseless Patient Spider” contain symbolism. Each symbol differs in each poem, signifying different ideas. However, they all share a certain bond, which is the use of animals. The poems are dealt with animals that explain, not directly but indirectly, a crucial point in the poem. The uses of animals in the poems of Jorie Graham, Robinson Jeffers, Mary Oliver, and Walt Whitman have a symbolic connection to human affairs.
The poets do not faithfully consider the animals as animals. They relate them more to humans, rather than what they physically are, animals. For example, in Walt Whitman’s poem, “A Noiseless Patient Spider,” Whitman compares the actions of the spider to humans. The lines of both stanzas correspond to each other. The second line, explaining about the spider, states, “I marked where on a little promontory it stood isolates” (Whitman 723). It corresponds to line seven, which is “surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space” (Whitman 723). Line seven talks about a human. As seen, these lines are about solitude. It continues to go on about the desolate feeling both the spider and human have. So the spider is, indirectly, actually a human.
The theme in “A Noiseless Patient Spider,” “is the quest, or exploration, for meaning and knowledge in the vastness of the universe” (Cummings). He elucidates this idea through the symbolization of a spider and human. He describes the actions of the spider and connects it with the behavior of a human in order to get his idea across. He also uses repetition. Line four says, “it launched forth filament, filament, filament out of itself” (Whitman 723). Filament is reiterated. It is what spiders do when they are looking for a place, a home, to be content. The spider is launching out his filament for the vast knowledge out there continuing until the filament catches onto something. It won’t stop until it is serene. The second stanza talks about a human. It doesn’t bluntly yell out that it is a human, but it can be interpreted as a human. The line, “till the bride you will need be formed, till the ductile anchor hold” (Whitman 723) shows that it is indeed a human. What other species can build a bridge. The line after, “till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul” (Whitman 723), is like the actions of a spider. The spider throws filament after filament for it to catch onto something. The human is doing the same thing. It is looking for the meaning it has in this world.
In “The Geese” by Jorie Graham, it expresses the notion of conflicting abstract belief and reasoning perception of humans. The geese represent abstract belief and the spiders represent the idealistic reasoning of humans. The geese flying in the air leaves no track. It can soar as far as it likes and still leave no trace. The spider conflicts with that however. It leaves a trail of its filament. With that, history can leave its place. The narrator is...