In “The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower” by Dylan Thomas, the speaker describes a mysterious force of nature that embodies life and death. Each stanza identifies the force in a different way, and through the the four figurative poetry elements of metaphor, paradox, imagery and diction, the poem reflects the relationship between humans and nature, and how signals of death are in attendance even when life is at its most vibrant. The poem explores the connection between humans and nature, and enforces the idea that youth and liveliness are destroyed as time progresses, and that death is inevitable.The speaker integrates the usage of metaphor into his poem in order to reflect the relationship between humans and nature, and their relation to the theme of life and death. The first stanza of the poem, states that “the force that through the green fuse drives the flower drives my green age.” This central metaphor drives the meaning of the poem as a whole. From this line, it can be noted that the “force” that “drives” nature is the force of vitality that drives the poet throughout the poem. The central metaphor is based on the use of the word “force,” and is the same force that establishes a relationship between the force of nature and the force of life that flows within humans. There is a strong implication of dawning death in the images of the poem.The speaker is aware that he will die naturally over time comparatively to the flowers and trees in nature. In this way, nature acts as a destroyer as well as a creator. The metaphorical force, which continues throughout the poem, is intended to generate a sense of the close relationship between nature and humankind. This is further emphasized when the poet says that the force “drives my green age,” because the color green is used to represent youth, and by contradicting “green” with the aspect of “age,” it can be inferred that a correspondence exists between the characteristics of nature and human life. Metaphors that refer to time are also included in the poem. Time has been compared to the abstract “force that drives my green age.” This metaphor is so vibrant that both the creative, and destructive qualities of time are vividly depicted in one mention, which also implies the unification of existence and death. The lines “my youth is bent by the same wintry fever” and “how at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks” are another two metaphorical pronouncements of time that contain two terms that are normally considered as opposites. “Wintry fever” creates a serious and supernatural quality on time while the “same mouth sucks” gives it a vampire like quality as the force sucks vitality away (Gabel). The usage of metaphor within the poem showcases the relationship between humans and nature, and helps to reinforce the idea that life leads to an unavoidable trek towards death.Thomas also utilizes paradox to effectively describe that creation and destruction are part of the same process, and that the power of nature also causes the speaker to grow. The main focus of this poem is the enigmatic paradoxical “force,” that unites nature and humans. The force creates the connection between the natural world and human life and reminds the reader that wherever there is creation, death will ultimately follow. The first sentence of stanza one is paradoxical. The line “the force through the green fuse drives the flower drives my green age” suggests that the force creates and motivates the growth of flowers and people (Thomas, The force that through the green fuse drives the flower). However, the succeeding sentence “blasts the roots of trees is my destroyer” distinctly shows that the force is devastating and brings upon death. This contradiction may seem impossible, but when thinking about the process of creation and destruction and that everything is essentially born to die, some veracity can be found (Thomas, The Poems of Dylan Thomas). After humans are born, and flowers blossom, they are already fated to perish after their creation. The “force” in stanza two is also depicted in a paradoxical style as it ” drives the water through the rocks and drives my red blood; that drives the mouthing steams turns mine to wax.” A discrepancy is made as the force that propels the water through the rocks cannot also dry the stream and drive a pulse, but truth in this statement can be found as the the natural force that links life and the force that links death acts as one singular force. The way the force acts on the aspect of life is the same way it acts on the aspect of death, as the movement of natural processes is also present in the movement of the human body. The usage of paradox within Thomas’s poem helps highlight the unified relationship between humans and nature, and their relation to the idea that “all human, animal, and vegetal life is subject to the same creative and destructive forces (Ackerman).”The author of this poem also employs the usage of imagery in order to convey the cycle of life and death and the relation it has with nature. The poem never directly says anything about the themes of demise and life, but instead utilizes images in each stanza that are so closely connected with each other that allude to these themes. In the first stanza, in the line “the force that through the green fuse,” the word “fuse” immediately presents readers with a image of something that is not gentle, but rather volatile, as the force “blasts the roots of trees.” The idea conveyed in this line is that the “force” can be powerful enough to create an explosion. In addition, the “green” color associated with the “fuse” is also unique as it depicts where the explosive force is brought to life and resembles the stem a flower uses to supports itself. This line further emphasizes the creative force of nature and that the force that leads to growth in nature also leads to a growth in the speaker. In contrast, the mention of “blasts the roots of trees” in the second line of the poem presents a striking image of destruction rather than that of creation, and highlights the duality of nature (Thomas, The Poems of Dylan Thomas). In the third stanza, a hand “whirls the water,” “stirs the quicksand” and “ropes the blowing wind.” These phrases from the poem portray a image of disorder and ferocity. Another line “hauls my shroud sail,” creates an almost ghostlike concept that is mysterious and provides a vivid representation of demise, as a shroud is a cloth used to wrap a dead body. This image combined with the images of the whirling water, stirred quicksand and blowing wind from the preceding lines help to create a clear picture of danger and destruction. In the fourth stanza, the image of the sucking “lips of time” connects to the idea of love. Normally, love is often regarded as a method of overcoming death and going beyond time, but in the fourth stanza, love is used to “calm her sores” instead of curing the wounds (Maud). This reinforces the idea that time cannot be stopped and that life is limited as even the force of love cannot cure and prevent death. The last line of the fourth stanza, “time has ticked a heaven round the stars” creates an image with a more positive nature, and serves as a contrast of the preceding stanzas in order to strengthen the theme, and similarly in the fifth stanza, the “tomb,” “sheet,” and “crooked worm” all depict negative images of decay and passing, and emphasize the inexorable death that oversees this poem, as when someone is laid to rest in a tomb, worms help to decompose the body. The usage of imagery within the poem contributes to the idea that creation and destruction are part of the same process and reflects the relationship between mankind and nature.Strong diction is also incorporated into the poem to reflect the relationship between humans and nature, and their relation to the theme of life and death. In the first stanza, the words “drive” and “green” indicate the positive nature of the force, and how it brings upon life, whereas the words”fuse” and “blast” are included in order to create powerful imagery that reveals the destructive force of time. In the second stanza, the water that “dries the mouthing streams” and drives “red blood” through the veins hold a plethora of similarities. Water and blood are both liquid components, and just like how streams extend all over the earth, veins extend throughout the human body. These similarities convey the ties that exist between humans and nature (Thomas, The force that through the green fuse drives the flower). The words “whirls,” “stirs,” and “hauls” mentioned in the third stanza have rough connotations that also allude to the aggressive and destructive force of time, and create a horrific and mysterious atmosphere that surrounds the aspect of death. In contrast to these lines, the final stanza of the poem is more related to love, and the “lover’s tomb” shows that although love may appear to be strong, it cannot overcome the force of time, and will die slowly. Among the more negatively connotated diction presented in this stanza, the inclusion of the positive word “round” implies constantness, and shows that the world is in a continuous cycle that “ticks” as if it were a clock. The use of strong diction within the poem conveys the cycle of life and death and how it is related to the duality of nature. In “The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower” by Dylan Thomas, the four figurative poetry elements of metaphor, paradox, imagery and diction reflect the relationship between humans and nature, and their relation to the theme of life and death. Each poetic element serves to strengthen the theme of creation and destruction and aids in depicting the power or effect of time on human existence and nature.
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