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Eel Tail by Alice Oswald

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by

Kendra Bond

on 9 September 2016

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Transcript of Eel Tail by Alice Oswald

Eel Tail by Alice Oswald
Poem/background info
who is Alice Oswald?
Alice Oswald is the author of three collections of poetry: The Thing in the Gap Stone Stile, which was a Poetry Book Society Choice, Dart, which won the T.S. Eliot Prize in 2002, and The Thunder Mutters. She lives in Devon and is married with three children.

Poem:
sometimes you see mudfish those short lead lengths of eels that hide at low tide these roping and wagging, preliminary, pre-world creatures, cousins of the moon, who love blackness, aloofness, always move under cover of the unmoon and then as soon as you see them gone untranslatable hissed interruptions unspeakable wide chapped lips it's the wind again cursing the water when it clears you keep looking and looking for those underlurkers, uncontrolled little eddies, when you lever their rooves up they lie limbless hairless like the bends of some huge plumbing system sucking and sucking the marshes and sometimes its just a smirk of ripples and then as soon as you see them gone untranslatable hissed interruptions unspeakable wide chapped lips it's the wind again bothering the reeds and when it clears you keep looking and looking for those backlashes waterwicks you keep finding those sea-veins still flowing, little cables of shadow, vanishing dream-lines long roots of penumbra but they just drill down into gravel and dwindle as quick as drips and then as soon as you see them gone untranslatable hissed interruptions unspeakable wide chapped lips it's the wind again pushing on your ears and when it clears sometimes you see that whip-thin tail of a waning moon start burrowing back into blackness and then as soon as you see her and then as soon as you say so gone
Shifts
First stanza: Describing how eel's hide in the shadows.
Second stanza: An eel is being described as it is swimming.
Third stanza: It's saying how someone saw an eel and it swam away.
Literary Elements
*alliteration: "
un
translatable hissed interruptions
un
speakable wide chapped lips" (this repeats throughout the whole poem)

*personification: "it's the
wind again cursing the water
when it clears", "it's the
wind again bothering the reeds
", and "it's the
wind again pushing on your ears
"

*simile: "they lie limbless hairless
like
the bends of some huge plumbing system"

*metaphor: "sometimes you see that whip-thin tail of
a
waning moon start"

*repetition: "untranslatable hissed interruptions unspeakable wide chapped lips it's the wind again" (this is repeated in each stanza of the poem)

*whole poem: imagery, and euphony
Tone
The two different tones that are used in this poem are mellow and mysterious. This is because there isn't really an exciting moment throughout the poem it is more of like a story so it stays more mellow. What makes it mysterious is how things are worded and the way the Eels are being described.
Meaning
Title: the meaning to the title is that eel's have tails.

Poem: no matter what when you expect something in life it is not always going to go your way and when you think about what something is going to look like it isn't always going to look the same in reality.
expectations of what seeing an Eel is to the reality of seeing an Eel. So this is basically saying that someones expectations of something are usually really different in reality.
Theme/s
Full transcript