Alden Nowlan’s The Bull Moose poem is a fascinating and insightful look at the animal itself, as well as the symbolism that it represents. The poem begins with a description of the bull moose, which is immediately followed by a discussion of its symbolism. The bull moose is seen as a symbol of strength and power, as well as a representation of nature itself. The poem goes on to discuss the various ways in which the bull moose can be interpreted, before concluding with a final thought on the subject.
“The Bull Moose” by Alden Nowlan is a finely-crafted poem that reminds us of how far man has strayed from Nature. In true Romantic style, Nowlan laments mankind’s estrangement from Nature using a carefully constructed sequence of contrasted images. The old moose’s strength is amazing.
He staggers and stumbles on his death journey to the fence encircling civilization – the edge of society – where he arrives “lurching” and “stumbling.” A crowd swiftly gathers, made up of both men and women, young and old – all notable for their inattentiveness and lack of regard.
The moose is a “freak,” they say, and quickly start to make jokes. The speaker in the poem is the only one who sees the beauty in the scene: “I saw the great beast standing/ rock-still in his own blood./ His head was up and his eyes/ were mild and blue as forget-me-nots.”
The poem is structured around a series of contrasts which emphasize man’s distance from Nature. The first contrast is between the noise of the crowd and the silence of the moose. The second contrast is between the ugliness of the crowd’s behavior and the beauty of the moose. The third contrast is between the death of the moose and the life of the crowd. The fourth contrast is between the respect shown by the speaker and the disrespect shown by the crowd.
The first stanza establishes the setting and introduces the moose. The second stanza focuses on the crowd’s reaction to the moose. The third stanza shifts focus to the speaker’s reaction to the scene. The fourth stanza brings all of these elements together in a powerful concluding image.
The poem opens with a description of the moose: “He came lurching and stumbling/ out of the spruce brake:/ his horns caught in the low-/ swinging branches.” The opening image is one of a great beast, caught in the branches of a tree. The moose is struggling to free himself, but he is entangled. The image suggests that man is caught in the web of civilization, unable to break free.
This monarch of the spruce, cedar, and tamarack, who lives outside the confines of civilization, faces down his despised executioners with overwhelming force. The thunderous bellow of this wonderfully horned ancient “blood god” clashes violently with the feeble and cowardly wail of automobile horns. Nowlan’s empathy for the moose and contempt for humanity are captured in a natural free verse. This poem encourages us to reconsider our haughty self-absorption toward Nature.
Alden Nowlan was born in Stanley, Nova Scotia and grew up in a rural area outside of town. The land and its creatures were an integral part of his life from an early age. The poem “The Bull Moose” is taken from his first collection of poetry, The Rose and the Puritan (1965). The moose is a symbol ofCanada’s wild and untamed wilderness. To urban dwellers, the moose is often seen as a pest, but to those who appreciate Nature, the moose is an awe-inspiring creature.
Nowlan uses personification to give the moose human qualities. The moose is described as a “blood god” and a “king”. The moose is also said to be “degraded” by the car horns. The word “degraded” usually has a negative connotation, but in this context, it is clear that Nowlan believes it is the humans who are degraded, not the moose.
The poem has a conversational tone and employs colloquial language. This helps to create a feeling of intimacy between the speaker and the reader. The use of first person point of view also contributes to this feeling.
The poem consists of three stanzas, each with four lines. The first two stanzas describe the scene from the perspective of the moose, while the third stanza is from the perspective of the speaker. The poem does not have a regular rhyme scheme, but there are some instances of internal rhyme, such as “fences” and “defenses” in the first stanza.
The poem reflects Nowlan’s sympathy for the moose and his disdain for humans. The title, “The Bull Moose”, suggests that the moose is a powerful creature. The word “bull” also has connotations of anger and aggression. This is appropriate, as the moose is angry at the humans who have encroached on its territory.
The word “moose” is derived from the Algonquin word meaning “eater of twigs”. This is significant, as it shows that the moose is a creature of the wilderness. The poem reflects Nowlan’s belief that humans should respect Nature and coexist with its creatures, rather than trying to control them.
Perhaps we shut ourselves off from those qualities that make us genuinely human by fencing ourselves in. Teachers Comments: This essay attempts to be as succinct as possible, which is to say that it strives to communicate as much information as possible in the fewest number of words feasible. Brevity may be the soul of humor, but brevity alone isn’t meaningful or insightful. The essay needs to be further developed in order for it to reach its full potential. The focus should be on analyzing the poem, rather than on providing background information about the author and the subject matter.
The Alden Nowlan poem The Bull Moose is a great example of how much can be said in just a few words. The title alone tells us that this will be a poem about an animal, but it is also about so much more.
The first stanza introduces the bull moose, and we get a sense of his grandeur:
He was a bull moose, six feet at the shoulder,
weighing close to two thousand pounds
and he had antlers like the branches of young trees.
We can already see that this is not just any ordinary moose, but one that is very large and impressive. The second stanza tells us more about the moose and his surroundings:
He lived in the forests of New Brunswick
and he came down to the lakes to drink
and he wasn’t afraid of anything.
Here we learn that the moose is not only large, but also brave and strong. The third stanza tells us about the moose’s interaction with humans:
The Indians respected him
and they left him alone
but the white men hunted him for his antlers
and his hide.
Although the moose is respected by some, others see him only as a source of material goods. The fourth and final stanza tells us about the moose’s eventual fate:
One day a hunter shot him
and he lay dying in the snow
and the forest was very quiet
and the trees were very still.
Although the moose is a large and powerful animal, he is not immune to being killed by humans. The poem ends on a note of sadness, with the death of this majestic creature.
The Bull Moose is a short poem, but it is packed full of meaning. In just four stanzas, Alden Nowlan tells us a great deal about the moose, his relationship to humans, and his place in the natural world. The poem makes us think about our own relationships with animals, and how we treat them. It also makes us consider our own mortality, and how even the most powerful among us are vulnerable to death. The Bull Moose is a simple poem, but it is also a very deep and thought-provoking one.