Momentous themes of rebirth, renewal, rejuvenation, as well as death and loss, are touched on in this poem, as the story of life developed, from frame to frame, and played out in all its vivacity, from cat to bird to lover to baby, in words that assailed the eyes of the reader. The cycle of life, one in which the end meets the beginning, runs itself through the lines of the poem, condensed and crystallised by Duffy, till only its core remains. In evocative language, Duffy brings us through the joys of birth, and subsequently, the pain of death. She shows that life and death are one and essentially the same. They are complements, not antagonists. The subsiding of one gives way to the encroachment of the other as life gives way to death and death to life. Tradegy pervades the poem. One’s beloved owner is killed. Love wilted and grew stale. The egg destroyed itself against the hard deck of the ship. The baby loses memory of its past life. And with tradegy, also comes the idea that life is transient, fleeting and unsubstantial. The poem moves in astonishment pace through four lives and each of the life merely last for at most, twenty four lines, which mirrors the twenty four hours that make up the cycle of the day. The incisive conciseness that characterised the poem, the brevity of its presentation, only serves to illustrate the idea of memento mori, that life is short, and death, never too far away. The recurring motifs within the poem evokes the cycle of life, death and how the link between both can never be severed.
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