Birdshooting Season

Birdshooting Season

By Olive Senior

Birdshooting season the men
make marriages with their guns
My father’s house turns macho
as from far the hunters gather

All night long the contentless women
stir their brews: hot coffee
chocolata, cerassie
wrap pone and tie-leaf
for tomorrows’ sport. Tonight
the men drink white rum neat.

In the darkness shouldering
their packs, guns, they leave

We stand quietly on the
Doorstep shivering. Little boys
longing to grow up bird hunters too
Little girls whispering:
Fly Birds Fly

Summary of Birdshooting Season

  • Popularity of “Birdshooting Season”: Birdshooting Season was written by Olive Senior, a prolific poet, and writer, known for expressive poetic composition. The poem was written in 1985. It presents how people in the speaker’s area celebrate bird shooting as an event. It also provides a pictorial description of how they get themselves prepared for this gala. The detailed illustration of the event and the appropriate use of poetic elements have added colors to this poetic presentation.
  • “Birdshooting Season” As a Representative of Amazement: This poem is about a particular bird shooting season. The writer presents the excitement of the men getting prepared for this exciting adventure. The poem explains the unmatchable bond between men and their guns. Her father’s house becomes the center of attraction as hunters from different areas gather there for this sport. Then, the speaker takes the readers into a place where women are busy preparing food for men for the hunter in the morning. After spending a restless night, the men carry their loaded guns on their shoulders and leave for the event. Meanwhile, the children and women stand at the doorsteps, watching them go. Little boys, looking at this scene, desire to grow up to become hunters like their fathers, while little girls secretly pray for the birds’ safety. The thrill of the horror makes these little girls pray for the innocent birds.
  • Major Themes in “Birdshooting Season”: Hunting, merriment, and masculinity are the major themes of the poem. The poem exhibits the grand show of man’s power. The poet has beautifully presented the hunter’s utmost joy right from the start of the poem. They treat their guns as their brides, believing this ammunition is going to satisfy their needs. While waiting for the grand event, they drink and eat. The women second the men; they are seen performing domesticity for them. The poem further explores the impact of this preparation upon the innocent minds of the children. The boys wish to be brave, bold, and flint-hearted like their father. However, the younger girls are portrayed as weak and sensitive. Unlike their mothers, they silently pray for the innocent birds going to take their last flight. The interesting thematic conflict appears in the last line where it seems that feminism works on patriarchy in saving or conserving the climate and ecological balance of life.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in “Birdshooting Season”

literary devices are literary tools a poet uses to beautify his poetic piece. Olive Senior has used some poetic devices in this piece whose analysis is as follows.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line such as the sound of /i/ in “Doorstep shivering. Little boys”.
  2. Alliteration: It is to use consonant sounds in the initials of two successive words such as the sound of /m/ in “make marriages with their guns”
  3. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /s/ in “their packs, guns, they leave”.
  4. Enjambment: It is defined as a thought in verse that does not come to an end at a line break. Instead, it rolls over to the next line. For example;

“All night long the contentless women
stir their brews: hot coffee
chocolata, cerassie
wrap pone and tie-leaf
for tomorrow’s sport.”

  1. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. For example, “My father’s house turns macho”, “Doorstep shivering. Little boys/longing to grow up bird hunters too” and “Little girls whispering.”
  2. Irony: Irony is a figure of speech in which words are used in such a way that their intended meaning is different from the actual meaning of the words. The poem presents situational irony in the last stanza where men have left for their favorite sport, leaving their families behind. For example,

“In the darkness shouldering
their packs, guns, they leave”

  1. Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between the objects that are different in nature. The poet compares guns with the brides in the opening line. For example, “Birdshooting season the men /make marriages with their guns.”
  2. Personification: The poet has personified guns as if they are ladies as men are carrying their guns as if they have married them.
  3. Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from literal meanings. Here “macho” and “men drink white rum neat” stand for masculinity.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used “Birdshooting Season”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Free Verse: Free verse is a type of poetry that does not contain patterns of rhyme or meter. This is a free-verse poem with no strict rhyme or meter.
  2. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There are four stanzas in this poem with each comprising different lines/verses.
  3. Repetition: The repetition of the word “fly” in the last verse sheds light on the innocence of the girls.

Quotes to be Used

These lines from “Birdshooting Season” are useful while talking about different festivals of the world.

“All night long the contentless women
stir their brews: hot coffee
chocolata, cerassie
wrap pone and tie-leaf
for tomorrow’s sport. Tonight
the men drink white rum neat.”