Because, as humans, we are so delightfully self-obsessed, we have a tendency to view things that aren't human as though they are. Much like how we can pull faces from random patterns and stimuli, we have no trouble forcing human qualities onto those things that clearly aren't. In the poem "Eight," Sue Goyette anthropomorphizes the ocean into a being that she describes as being "fed" by those humans that lose objects, conversations, and lives to the sea. While many may see Goyette's sea as a beast that one must subdue, I choose to see it differently; namely, as a divine being that one must worship lest it exercise its wrath. This framework lends itself well to Goyette's tendency to describe accidental loss as a purposeful sacrifice, a process that is reminiscent of religion's attribution of meaning to the unexplainable or the purposeless.
Interestingly, the term anthropomorphism was first coined by Greek philosopher Xenophanes, who noticed that believers' perceptions of their gods highly resembled themselves; Greeks depicted their gods as having white skin and light eyes, while Africans depicted their gods as having dark skin and dark eyes. This origin of anthropomorphism as a concept fits very well with how Goyette uses it in her poem. Gods in most religions, especially those of polytheistic origins, walk a precarious line between compassion and vengefulness. Ancient Greeks worshipped their gods not only because they appreciated them, but also because they feared they'd be punished if they didn't.