The poem, “Flying at night” by Ted Kooser, an American writer, is a fantastic read. It presents the earth as a star and an object hovering over the city. First published in 2005, the poem presents planet earth from an entirely different perspective. This unique representation made this poem an entirely absorbing poetic piece. It begins when a young speaker contemplates the special happenings of this vast universe. Then, the description makes us imagine how shining stars and constellations surround the earth.
He tries to explain the scientific concepts while talking about the dying galaxy. He describes how significant happenings of the space cast no effect on our lives. The poem’s tone becomes ironic when he says that people notice the light placed in the farmer’s yard, yet they ignore the fundamental happenings of the universe. The seemingly important light in the yard also fades away by the radiance of the startling city lights. The disappearance of that light shows the gap between man and the natural world.
Major Themes in the Poem
The crazy growth of industrialization, man versus nature, and scientific advancements are the major themes in this short and symbolic poem. This short poem sheds light on the scientific advancement that can capture the significant constant changes occurring in the universe. But, on the other hand, it highlights the approach of the modern man, who has become busy catching up with the pace of the industrialized world.
Representation of scientific truths versus man’s indifferent nature amazes the speaker. He wonders how a man can give a cold response to the events that cause a significant impact in the universe but remain unnoticed by the human eye. However, the end of the poem paints his disappointments when he laments man’s choices. Man chooses to be materialistic and bold; he pays less attention to what nature tries to convey. Unfortunately, we have no time to sit in the lap of soothing nature. This ironic shift in man’s nature makes the stargazer frustrated, who looks at the starry sky at night.
Poetic Elements in “Flying at Night”
Flying at night by Ted Kooser exhibits the clever use of poetic elements. The writer has used imagery, metaphor, symbolism, and other major literary as well as poetic devices to make this poem attractive for the readers. The use of imagery is quite evident in the poem; the writer has used some striking images of galaxy, stars, shimmering supernova, and yard light to appeal to the reader’s senses. Using his artistic imagination, he has skillfully inserted these images to connect readers with his poetic mind. Metaphor is the second most important device used in the poem. The writer has used modernization and industrialization as an extended metaphor to show the indifferent choices of the modern man.
Moreover, the use of symbolism further heightens the impact of the poem. Ted Kooser has used symbols like the light, farmer, and the chill of distant death to show the critical changes occurring in the world. However, only the people who value nature can witness them. In the last lines, the irony comes into contact, where the speaker wonders how the shimmering nova tugs with bright streets. Thus, the brilliant use of these devices shows the writer’s ideas and feelings about the rapid growth of industrialization and capitalization, with a resultant loss of the natural world.