The Cremation of Sam McGee
How we cite our quotes:
And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low; (lines 37-38)
As things go on, the suffering just gets worse. The body drags on the speaker more and more, and he gets hungrier all the time. Heck, even the dogs are miserable. There’s definitely nothing fun about this expedition. You get the feeling that the misery doesn’t come all at once, either – it just kind of shaves away at you day after day. The poem recreates this feeling by stretching out this part of the trip, and making us suffer along with him a little bit.
I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear; (line 53)
In some ways, the actual cremation hurts worse than anything. Our speaker was hungry, cold, and a little crazy before, but now he’s almost taken over by his terror. We think this line does a really good job of bringing that out. The phrase "grisly fear" really makes us feel how ugly, scary, and painful this moment is.