The Moose By Rachael Cousins

"The Moose" is a poem that was written by Elizabeth Bishop which describes a journey via bus through the Maritimes of Canada. The bus trip feels so ordinary, so familiar are the members of the trip boarding the bus and the conversations that ensue (such as about how a man had "turned to drink"). The conversations were written in such a way that the reader feels as if they themselves are having the conversation with the traveller. Then suddenly, a moose appears in front of the bus and the machine comes to a halt meeting its match.

The format of the poem is really interesting as I found it to be almost a metaphor for the moose. There are so many lines and stanzas, that the poem appears to be very long winded. When taking a closer look at the size of the lines in those stanzas however, they are not very long lines. To me, this is as the moose as it seems very big and frightening at first glance, but as one gets closer to it and starts to really look into it, it is a gentle giant which is full of beauty and wonder, as this poem is as well.

The beauty in this poem would probably be expected in the description of the landscape as the bus travels on a highway, but I found that the true beauty was found in the last few lines when Bishop describes the passengers' fascination and childish curiosity over this enormous beast standing before them blocking their way. It is beautiful because in the sort of society that we live in today, to have anything slow us down from our final destination is taken as an insult. When first reading this, I had expected that the driver would be honking wildly and cursing while passengers mumbled and complained about wildlife and how they would be late to their post engagement. I was very pleasantly surprised that is not the way that the poem ended, however. They showed appreciation for this noble creature that is crossing a man-made death trap, and do not speculate how to better keep animals further away from them. This is a hint at the fact that we as humans cannot keep pushing nature away because no matter what we do, it is going to keep reappearing before our eyes and maybe now that is what humans want. We want that connection to nature that has been so long left in the dust.


Created with images by skeeze - "moose bull cow" • Unsplash - "bus train subway" • USFWS Headquarters - "Alaskan moose pair"

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