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Nutrition Imagery

Symbol Analysis

The idea of "nutrition"—what we could just as well call the idea of food that is good for you—really only appears in two of the poem's 14 lines: the first two. Maybe the speaker wanted to warm himself up (or make the reader warm up to him) by starting with these two pleasant metaphors, before getting to the nastier stuff that follows. Of course, the theme of food will return in the poem, starting in line 9, only by then it will have turned into the theme of gluttony. Thus, one way of thinking about the "nutrition" imagery at the beginning of the poem is that it helps give the poem's ideas structure. By starting off with pleasant views of nutrition, the poet gives himself something to work with—though in this case "work with" really means to turn upside down.

  • Line 1: The very first line of the poem hits us up with a simile, otherwise known as the literary device where you say that one thing is like another thing. This simile draws an analogy between "you" and "my thoughts" and "food" and "life." In this way, the speaker suggests that "you" are absolutely essential to his "thoughts," just as "food" is absolutely essential to "life." And yet, do we really believe that "you" can be that important to his thoughts? Would he really not be able to think of anything else if "you" weren't around? We're not convinced. Thus, this looks like it might be an instance of hyperbole (pronounced hy-PER-bo-lee), otherwise known as exaggeration for effect. 
  • Line 2: The second line of the poem continues the pattern of making similes started in line 1. This time, the relationship between "you" and "my thoughts" gets replayed as the relationship between rain ("sweet seasoned show'rs") and "the ground." Once again, the emphasis is on the power of inspiring energy and life. When rain falls on the ground, it makes plants grow. Just so, the speaker seems to be telling us, "you" make his "thoughts" come to life. To really make that rain sound extra fancy, the speaker throws in some alliteration on the letter "s" in "sweet seasoned." Although it's a slightly different sound, you could think of the "sh" at the beginning of "show'rs" as also contributing to this sound pattern (for more on alliteration, check out "Sound Check").

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