Breaking Down the Structure of "The Turtle"

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breaks from the blue-black

skin of the water, dragging her shell

with its mossy scutes

across the shallows and through the rushes

and over the mudflats, to the uprise,

to the yellow sand,

to dig with her ungainly feet

a nest, and hunker there spewing

her white eggs down

into the darkness, and you think

of her patience, her fortitude,

her determination to complete

what she was born to do----

and then you realize a greater thing----

she doesn’t consider

what she was born to do.

She’s only filled

with an old blind wish.

It isn’t even hers but came to her

in the rain or the soft wind

which is a gate through which her life keeps walking.

She can’t see

herself apart from the rest of the world

or the world from what she must do

every spring.

Crawling up the high hill,

luminous under the sand that has packed against her skin,

she doesn’t dream

she knows

she is a part of the pond she lives in,

the tall trees are her children,

the birds that swim above her

are tied to her by an unbreakable string.

—“The Turtle,”
Mary Oliver

Break down the structure of the poem by completing each sentence.

The first stanza is mainly about

The second stanza is mainly about

The third stanza is mainly about

1 Answer





Ruby Schiller
15.5k 3 10 26
answered 1 year ago