Three Questions About A Poem

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(from here)

  • Why is it called “The Storm”? She could have called it “The Snow” or “New Snow” or “Chill Out Dog” or whatever. Why focus on the storm (and, come to think of it, doesn’t all this happen after the storm)?
  • In the first stanza: “white”, “snow”, “with”, and “wild”. It’s certainly lovely to hear all those words along with each other. But then why not fill the poem with similar-sounding words? Why turn it on in the first stanza, but not in the next two?
  • Is there significance in the dissimilarity between “written…in large exuberant letters” and “could not have said it better myself”?

Would love your help in understanding this better! Speculations and answers are invited.

5 thoughts on “Three Questions About A Poem

  1. In response to question two: I would speculate that the title refers to the “storm” because the message may be interpreted as us, too, needing to learn to dance through the storms (turbulence) in our lives.


  2. Perhaps the storm refers to how the dog takes to the snow. You can almost hear the music of the romp (think Black Stallion beach scene – but set and scored differently). Snow storms are often quiet, but the one the dog makes is contrastingly wild, excited, and exuberant.

    Maybe the poem changes whimsically like the mind of the romping dog or the weather that produced the snow. Maybe it is simply the author’s lyrical sense that sways the tempo.

    “I could not have said it better myself.” This is kind of typical of Mary Oliver. She likes to witness the thing in its radiant perfection and share the thing itself. I’m not sure if there is a difference between written vs. said.

    “Instructions for living a life.
    Pay attention.
    Be astonished.
    Tell about it.”
    -Mary Oliver


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