Study Guide

Flare Section 7

By Mary Oliver

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Section 7

Lines 1-4

Did you know that the ant has a tongue
with which to gather in all that it can
of sweetness?

  • Did you know that?
  • Talk about a segue. We go from saying adios to the speaker's dead parents to talking about an ant's tongue. Weird? Yes. But we'll go with it. 
  • After all, there might be a connection here. Maybe the alternative to lingering on loss, like her parents seem to have done, is to gather in the sweetness of the world, like the ant does with its tongue.
  • We think a big part of how to do this, for our speaker, is to learn about the world. Learning little details about the moth, about ants' tongues, can be a way to gather up all the sweetness that creation has to offer. 
  • And she wants us to hone in on that, too. She's talking to us in that last line, asking us if we're paying attention.

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