The Common Cormorant or Shag

The Common Cormorant or shag
Lays eggs inside a paper bag.
The reason you will see no doubt
It is to keep the lightning out.
But what these unobservant birds
Have never noticed is that herds
Of wandering bears may come with buns
And steal the bags to hold the crumbs.
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Hnnhbiie30's picture

Christopher Isherwood's poem titled "The Common Cormorant or Shag" provides readers with a light-hearted and humorous peek into the oddities of nature. Through the use of playful language and witty rhymes, Isherwood invites readers to reflect on the peculiar habits of the common cormorant, also known as a shag, while also offering a gentle commentary on human behavior.

The poem starts with a simple description of the common cormorant laying its eggs inside a paper bag. This seemingly absurd behavior prompts the speaker to question the reason behind such an action. The explanation provided - "to keep the lightning out" - is both unexpected and funny, highlighting the whimsical nature of the poem.

As the poem progresses, Isherwood playfully points out the irony of the cormorant's actions. While the birds may believe they are protecting their eggs from lightning, they fail to recognize the potential danger posed by wandering bears, who could easily steal the bags to hold crumbs. This unexpected twist adds a layer of humor and absurdity to the poem, encouraging readers to contemplate the folly of the cormorants' behavior.

Isherwood's use of language is simple yet effective, with concise and rhythmic lines that flow smoothly from one to the next. The rhyme scheme adds to the whimsical tone of the poem, creating a sense of playfulness and lightness that makes it an enjoyable read for readers of all ages.

Beyond its humorous elements, "The Common Cormorant or Shag" also offers a subtle commentary on human behavior and the tendency to overlook potential dangers in pursuit of seemingly trivial goals. Through the absurd actions of the cormorants, Isherwood prompts readers to consider how we may be similarly blind to the risks and consequences of our actions.

In conclusion, "The Common Cormorant or Shag" by Christopher Isherwood is a delightful and whimsical poem that offers readers a humorous observation of nature's quirks. Through playful language and witty rhymes, Isherwood invites readers to consider the folly of the cormorants' behavior while also offering a gentle reminder of the importance of being mindful of potential risks and consequences. This charming poem is sure to bring a smile to the faces of readers as they contemplate the curious habits of the common cormorant.

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