by James Reeves
The criterion of the actions of the sea and its behaviour pattern is eloquently depicted in the poem. The Sea, James Reeve’s diction style, rhythm and thyme, the metaphors and the tone itself create the actual image of changing moods of the sea.
Firstly James Reeves introduces the sea in the form of “a hungry dog” with all its activities, actions and reactions. The reader is able to visualise the image of the “hungry dog” “clashing teeth and shaggy jaws” Hour upon hour he gnaws”.
The awful sound of the waves rolling towards the beach with his “Clashing teeth and shaggy jaws”. Usually the sea is compared to the grace and beauty of a woman, expressing the movements of the feminine gender, but here James Reeves has employed a character of the canine; the drastic actions of the angry sea . “The rumbling tumbling stones”.
“And bones, bones, bones, bones”.
The repetition of the word BONES mirrors forth the drastic actions and the fierce behaviour pattern of the SEA DOG. Every action is symbolised by the giant Sea Dog.
“Shaking his wet sides over the cliffs and howls and hollows long and ‘loud”
The roaring sea with its fierce actions depicting the fierce behaviour pattern of a sea dog getting back to its normal mood during the months of May and June.
“But on quiet days in May or June,
Whenever the grasses on the dune
Play no more their sandy tune,
He lies on the sandy shores
He scarcely snores”
The calm and serene mood of the sea is symbolised by the image of a dog – fierce and drastic at one time and calm and quiet at other times, The calmness of the Changing Sea is highlighted by the words
He scarcely snores”
The varied rhyming pattern serving itself to create the visual image of the sea calm and glorious at one time and nasty and rough at other times. The animal behaviour pattern of the dog with the characteristic beastly action ‘sniffs and sniffs’, “rolls gnaws, moans, clashing teeth, shaggy jaws, greasy paws, justifying the similies used by the poet to describe the changing mood of the sea and the “hungry dog”.
The picturesque presentation of the sea and its similarity to the canine behaviour, pattern, mirror forth the radical changes of the sea from period to period. The picturesque presentation of the sea in its various moods strike the reader in a forceful manner.
The semantic procedure of the Poet in creating the images of a HUNGRY DOG and a QUIET DOG is eloquently brought forth creating a cinematic view of the procedure of the sea in different ways.
The sea is grammatically neuter in gender, but usually the sea assumes feminine gender. In this poem the writer uses neuter gender, presenting the DOG IMAGE – The “contented dog, and the hungry dog” the poet has personified it by using “he” bringing much life and colour to the procedure of the Dog’s behaviour pattern, the poet has created the suitable background for his ideas to be expressed in a profound manner; the fierce hungry dog and the contented dog expressing the moods of the sea.
The rhyming scheme functions in an efficient manner creating the HUNGRY DOG and the CONTENTED DOG the rhyming pattern is well maintained though the metre varies at times. The opening line and the last line of each verse varies a little. The poet has maintained the varied tones of the behaviour pattern of the sea beautifully and elegantly.
James Reeve’s poem THE SEA remains as a piece of literature that could be appreciated and enjoyed by the reader visualising the varied tones and behaviour pattern of the sea in its splendour and its ferocity.
Mrs. C. Ekanayake,
Retd. Specialist Teacher
The Sea by James Reeves