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The balloons can be seen to represent the world in the time of Bishop, which was taken to be turning on the innocent individuals in the time of war.
While many poets are difficult to understand due to the complexity of their poetry, Bishop’s poetry aids its reader through the use of detailed imagery and concrete language, making the message of her various poems easily accessible.
This is seen in First Death in Nova Scotia, where we meet many detailed images of many sorts, from the domestic ‘marble table’ to a ‘frozen lake’, and it may be seen that such a contrast of images represents Bishop being at an age where she cannot yet accept death as a part of her life.
As said, an appealing aspect of Bishop’s poetry is that her poetry links with her life.
Bishop has some connection to each poem, and this adds credibility to her poetry.
Finally, her range of themes adds to this variance, making each Bishop poem original and of worth in its own right.
The poems I have studied are: First Death In Nova Scotia, Filling Station, In the Waiting Room, A Prodigal, The Armadillo and The Fish.
Elsewhere, the need for a mother is emphasized as the sons and father are present, yet are presented as unsuitable for maintaining a suitable environment, seen in such details as when it is declared ‘Someone waters the plant,/ or oils it, maybe’, a reference to the males’ working in the filling station.
The concluding line that ‘Somebody loves us all’ is an ironic lament that while someone even loves the father wearing ‘a dirty,/ oil-soaked monkey suit’ and the ‘greasy sons’ (none of whom is capable of providing a suitable family unit), Bishop has no parents to love her.
The insurmountable armadillo represents the humans; its leathery armor shell symbolizes the belief of the time in the strength of humankind, which is coupled with the initial mention of the balloons (which later are threatening) as ‘frail’.
When catastrophe strikes, the armadillo ‘left the scene,/ rose-flecked, head down, tail down’, and the humans, who were initially thought of as strong like armadillo, are later shown to be as unwilling to counter the chaotic and dangerous.