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The Rook

Symbol Analysis

A rook is a black bird that looks like a crow. It's the kind of bird that likes to hang out in groups on bare tree branches and spook people. For the speaker, the rook is a means of connecting to Charles Lamb despite the distance that separates them. All the other rooks have gone home, and this one is the last straggler. It's that old ploy: if you can't join 'em, pretend that you have attached a lucky charm to a random bird that passes overhead and hope that the bird will sprinkle luck on your friend. Yes, an old ploy….

  • Lines 69-71: The speaker's blessing of the rook turns it into a symbol, but for what: Friendship? Hope? Unity? If you could sum it up in one word, it wouldn't be poetry!
  • Lines 75-76: He imagines that he has attached to the rook a good wish or "charm" for Charles. We're still trying to figure out what it's a symbol for…any ideas?

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