Bird Shooting Season



As the poem’s title suggests the poem “Birdshooting Season”  shows the rituals surround bird shooting season and the happenings in a house when both men and women prepare for the season. The poem is narrated by what seems to be a child member of the household as he/she tells the happenings in preparation for the hunt, thus the poem is told as he/she reflects on the activities in his/her household, men getting ready to go shooting while the women are inside preparing to make the food and children watching.

Stanza by Stanza Analysis

Stanza 1

The poem starts by saying “ men make marriages with their guns” men use their guns to hunt and shoot birds this line shows the relationship the men have with their guns, almost as if the guns are replacing the women. As more and more men gather at the house the narrator describes the house as getting more “macho” manlier emphasizing the definition of the poem of men as the strong primal hunters in contrast to its portrayal of women.

 Stanza 2

Transitions to what the women of the house are doing in contrast to the men, who are going out shooting the women are inside doing more domestic tasks to show the stark difference between the roles of men and women. “All night contentless women stir there brews…” the word contentless here could mean that these women here are docile and obedient doing the cooking as the strong men go out to kill, or contentless as in women are dissatisfied with the role of having to cook for tomorrow’s “sport” while the men drink hard white rum and enjoy themselves. Women in the poem are shown doing the traditional domestic tasks in short women in the kitchen.

 Stanza 3

The briefness of this stanza gives a sense of quickness, suspense and emphasizes the movement and motions “in darkness shouldering their packs, their guns, they leave” this leaves the reader to wonder what comes next.

 Stanza 4

This stanza continues with the feeling of suspense and again shows the contrast between male and females and the role expected of them “little boys longing to grow up bird shooters too” this represents the role that the boys are expected to take up while the lines “little girls whispering: Fly Birds Fly” show the emotions that are associated with the females, empathy, and softness. The last line “Fly Bird Fly” with each letter in each word capitalized emphasizing the words, this leaves the reader wondering and left in suspense and speculation on what is to happen in the hunt.

Figurative Devices

  •     Metaphor –

Examples: “Men make marriages to their guns” not literal marriage but shows the close, needed, and the relation the men had with their guns now that it is bird shooting season, you need your gun to shoot so the gun was held in high importance.


  •      Imagery-

Examples: “in darkness shouldering their packs, their guns they leave” we can imagine the scene of the men cloaked in darkness with guns in had and there sacks on their back leaving in the night to go hunt.

 “We stand quietly on the doorstep shivering” again another image where we can picture the young children standing feeling the cold air, shivering as they watch the men leave.


   Possible Themes 

  •     Gender roles
  •     Children’s curiosity
  •     Childhood experiences
  •     Nature







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