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Big Poppy

Big Poppy

by Ted Hughes

Stanza 10 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Line 24

Her big, lewd, bold eye, in its sooty lashes,

  • Oops! Not just the petals, then. What we have here, when we read the lines as a whole sentence, is the beginning of a list – "we could see nothing but A and B." So now we're adding to the things that are taking up all of our attention.
  • So the petals were hair. What's the eye? Probably the middle of the flower – think the middle of a daisy. In poppies, this center is very large, usually dark purple or black, hence the "sooty," and a little fuzzy, hence the "lashes." (Check out this close-up of the center of a poppy.)
  • But what about that "lewd, bold" part? This is a little risqué – the word lewd means, literally, "obscene or indecent." And we're not talking about swear words, here.
  • So not only does the poppy now have big, trademark hair, but a bold, unblinking eye. That might be a little…direct, no? A little suggestive, maybe? It's as if the poppy, during its brief and raucous life, has a constant "come-hither" stare. Ooh la la.

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