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Robert Francis- Waxwings Essay, Research Paper

Waxwings: Robert Francis

The overall theme of Robert Francis Waxwings is the belief of Taoism. This idea obviously is stated in the first line of the first stanza and then subtly throughout the rest of the poem. The title of the poem can also present a hint of Taoism. Since a tremendous component of Taoism has to do with nature, calling the poem Waxwings, a type of bird, is a pure title.

Francis uses the first stanza as introductory, where he describes the setting as a February day in the sun. He relates Four Tao philosophers with cedar waxwings , or perching birds, and announces that he is one of those four philosophers. This proves that Francis is a believer and/or practicer of Taoism.

The second and third stanzas also prove this idea. The life of a Taoist is that of a simple one, one who is in attunement with nature. That is what Francis is trying to get across. Being mirthy and serious at the same time, and being something as simple as a piece of fruit on a stem of a plant, these are all apart of the Taoist belief. Nature is also comprehended in the third stanza, as Francis uses the sky and snow to show the setting and environment.

The last stanza is the simplicity of Taoism, and what is left behind in other lives to become a follower of the Tao. All materialistic things and the hustle and bustle of everyday life for many is forgotten. The poet, at the end of the poem, has made the decision of the Taoist life. This makes it obvious that he did believe otherwise before that of Taoism, he knows what that existence is like. Now he has enough evidence to choose which life he wants to follow, and which is better for him, which is apparent that it is Taoism.


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