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Sea and Forest Imagery

Symbol Analysis

"Oread" is a poem all about the boundary between land and sea. Shorelines and coastlines are always changing. They change daily because of tides, and in the long term because of things like erosion. You can never quite tell where one ends and the other begins, and the Oread of the poem advocates for even less of a distinction between the two. Sea, meet the land and the forest! She says. Break down the boundaries for once and for all.

  • Line 1: The poem's first line is a direct address to the sea. The Oread wants it to "whirl up." She doesn't want a calm, cool, and collected sea. She wants an active, turbulent one. 
  • Lines 2-4: The Oread curiously describes the sea with the vocabulary of a forest. She keeps referring to its waves as "pines" (and she doesn't actually ever use the word "waves;" we've got to figure this out on our own). This extended metaphor—describing the ocean as if it were a forest—is the famous thing about this poem. 
  • Lines 5-6: The Oread continues her forest-y diction in her description of the sea. Though she's commanding the sea to come meet the forest, her language already accomplishes this through a little presto-change-o diction. This sea already is the forest, in a way.

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