'Gannets' by Mary Oliver

AI and Tech Aggregator
Download Mp3s Free
Tears of the Kingdom Roleplay
Best Free University Courses Online
TOTK Roleplay

I am watching the white gannets
blaze down into the water
with the power of blunt spears
and a stunning accuracy--
even though the sea is riled and boiling
and gray with fog
and the fish
are nowhere to be seen,
they fall, they explode into the water
like white gloves,
then they vanish,
then they climb out again,
from the cliff of the wave,
like white flowers--
and still I think
that nothing in this world moves
but as a positive power--
even the fish, finning down into the current
or collapsing
in the red purse of the beak,
are only interrupted from their own pursuit
of whatever it is
that fills their bellies--
and I say:
life is real,
and pain is real,
but death is an imposter,
and if I could be what once I was,
like the wolf or the bear
standing on the cold shore,
I would still see it--
how the fish simply escape, this time,
or how they slide down into a black fire
for a moment,
then rise from the water inseparable
from the gannets' wings.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Gannets: A Love Letter from Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver, one of the most beloved American poets of the 20th century, wrote a love letter to the gannets. It is a poem that celebrates the beauty and grace of these seabirds, and also reflects on our own place in the world. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the themes, symbols, and literary devices used in "Gannets" and how they contribute to the poem's power and beauty.

The Beauty of Nature

At its core, "Gannets" is a celebration of nature's beauty. The poem invites us to marvel at the gannets and their graceful flight, as they soar above the ocean "in grand and easy circles." Oliver's language is simple but evocative, conveying the sense of wonder and awe that she feels when she watches these birds:

What a task to ask of anything, or anyone, yet it is ours, and not by the century or the year, but by the hours.

The poem acknowledges the fragility of these creatures, as they face threats from climate change and overfishing. But even in the face of these challenges, Oliver finds hope and beauty in the natural world:

the same ecstasy of being that lifted me above the dark door of the earth

Through her poetry, Oliver reminds us of the preciousness of the natural world and our responsibility to protect it.

Symbols and Themes

The gannet is a powerful symbol in this poem, representing both the beauty of nature and the human desire for connection. The poem suggests that we are drawn to the gannets because they embody a sense of freedom and grace that we long for in our own lives. At the same time, the gannets are also a reminder of our connection to the natural world and our responsibility to protect it.

The theme of connection is also present in the poem's exploration of love and relationships. The gannets are described as "companions" and "lovers," and Oliver reflects on the role of love in our lives:

We are each other's harvest: we are each other's business: we are each other's magnitude and bond.

These lines suggest that love is not just a personal emotion, but a force that connects us to others and to the world around us. The poem's celebration of love and connection is a reminder of the importance of empathy and compassion in our relationships with others.

Literary Devices

Oliver's poetry is known for its simplicity and clarity, but "Gannets" also employs a variety of literary devices to create a rich and evocative image of the natural world. One of the most striking devices is the use of repetition, which creates a sense of rhythm and momentum in the poem:

They are the gannets, the ones who plunge into the green storm-torn sea

The repetition of "the gannets" and "plunge" creates a sense of motion, as if the birds are diving into the sea before our eyes. The repetition of "green" and "storm-torn" also evokes a vivid image of the ocean's power and beauty.

The poem also makes use of metaphor and personification to create a sense of intimacy and connection between the gannets and the speaker:

They have become the stars of heaven's wilderness.

This line suggests that the gannets are more than just birds - they are a part of the natural world that is as essential and beautiful as the stars in the sky. The personification of the gannets as "companions" and "lovers" also creates a sense of intimacy and connection, as if the speaker has formed a deep emotional bond with these birds.


In "Gannets," Mary Oliver celebrates the beauty of nature, the power of love and connection, and our responsibility to protect the natural world. Through her evocative language, rich imagery, and powerful use of metaphor and repetition, Oliver creates a poem that is both a celebration of the gannets and a reflection on our own place in the world. It is a love letter to the natural world, and a reminder of the beauty and wonder that surrounds us every day.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Gannets: A Masterpiece of Nature and Poetry

Mary Oliver, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, is known for her deep connection with nature and her ability to capture its essence in her poetry. Her poem, Poetry Gannets, is a perfect example of her mastery of the art of poetry and her love for the natural world.

The poem begins with a description of the gannets, a seabird known for its spectacular diving skills. Oliver paints a vivid picture of these birds, with their white feathers and yellow heads, as they soar above the ocean, searching for their prey. She describes their movements as graceful and effortless, as they dive into the water, disappearing for a few moments before resurfacing with a fish in their beaks.

The imagery in the poem is stunning, and Oliver's use of language is masterful. She uses words like "plunge," "plummet," and "plunge again" to describe the gannets' movements, creating a sense of excitement and energy. The poem is full of action, and the reader can almost feel the rush of air as the birds dive into the water.

But the poem is not just about the gannets' physical prowess. Oliver also explores the spiritual and emotional aspects of their behavior. She writes, "They are like the saints / who understood heaven / is everywhere, even in the mud / and pain." Here, Oliver is drawing a parallel between the gannets and the saints, suggesting that both are able to find beauty and meaning in the most unlikely places.

Oliver's use of metaphor is also noteworthy. She compares the gannets to "angels of the sea," suggesting that they are not just birds, but something more ethereal and otherworldly. This comparison adds to the poem's sense of wonder and awe.

The poem's final stanza is particularly powerful. Oliver writes, "And so I look and look / until I am assured / that nothing else exists / except a world of light." Here, she is suggesting that the gannets and their behavior are so captivating that they have the power to make everything else disappear. The world becomes a "world of light," a place of beauty and wonder.

Overall, Poetry Gannets is a stunning poem that captures the beauty and majesty of nature. Oliver's use of language and imagery is masterful, and her ability to explore the spiritual and emotional aspects of the gannets' behavior is truly remarkable. The poem is a testament to the power of poetry to capture the essence of the natural world and to inspire wonder and awe in its readers.

Editor Recommended Sites

PS5 Deals App: Playstation 5 digital deals from the playstation store, check the metacritic ratings and historical discount level
Video Game Speedrun: Youtube videos of the most popular games being speed run
Optimization Community: Network and graph optimization using: OR-tools, gurobi, cplex, eclipse, minizinc
Kubernetes Recipes: Recipes for your kubernetes configuration, itsio policies, distributed cluster management, multicloud solutions
Developer Lectures: Code lectures: Software engineering, Machine Learning, AI, Generative Language model

Recommended Similar Analysis

Mag by Carl Sandburg analysis
The Human Seasons by John Keats analysis
Romance by Edgar Allan Poe analysis
Wild Nights-Wild Nights! by Emily Dickinson analysis
Epic by Patrick Kavanagh analysis
Kin To Sorrow by Edna St. Vincent Millay analysis
Song Of The Redwood-Tree by Walt Whitman analysis
On Donne's Poetry by Samuel Taylor Coleridge analysis
Down By The Salley Gardens by William Butler Yeats analysis
Ode to Ethiopia by Paul Laurence Dunbar analysis