Study Guide

Twelfth Song of Thunder Awe and Amazement

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Awe and Amazement

“Twelfth Song of Thunder” is a poem that sweeps from the grand spectacles of nature (like thunder) to the teeny-tiny spectacles of nature (like grasshoppers). Even though the speaker considers both big and small sounds, and big and small natural scenes, there’s a sense of awe and amazement in considering all of these things. Given that most of us spend most of our time cooped up in apartments or houses, probably glued to a screen of some sort or another, we tend to forget just how amazing nature can be. When was the last time we looked at a grasshopper? This is a poem that reminds us of all of the wonderful things that nature has to offer.

Questions About Awe and Amazement

  1. How do we get a sense of the speaker’s awe and amazement in this poem?
  2. Do you think the “smaller” voices of nature—like the grasshopper’s—can elicit as much awe and amazement as the “bigger” voices, such as the thunder’s? Why or why not?
  3. What’s the relationship between attentiveness and awe and amazement in this song? Why do we need to be attentive in order to experience awe and amazement?

Chew on This

The speaker of this poem shows us that awe and amazement are just a point of view. It’s not nature that makes us feel awe and amazement, it’s how we look and listen to nature that matters.

Sorry there, grasshopper, but big, spectacular things are more likely to give us a sense of awe and amazement than little things.

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