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Year's End by Ted Kooser

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Ted Kooser’s poem Year's End is a symbolic piece of writing that deals with the theme of natural cycles of life, love and death. By using “we” point of view instead of “I” the author appeals to humanity in general, seeing people as part of the Universe that functions according its own rhythms. People can try struggling with it but it is useless and Nature’s rhythms are much more powerful, so the person will be absorbed by them anyway.

The poet uses a remarkable extended metaphor of a locker to demonstrate that Nature is organized and harmonious, so that each human has his or her own place in it even after death:

“Now the seasons are closing their files/on each of us, the heavy drawers/full of certificates rolling back/into the tree trunks, a few old papers/flocking away” ( Kooser).

By comparing seasons’ end to the end of human life the poet reveals an idea that life is eternal in fact. When a person dies, it is just an end of one cycle and the beginning of the other, as new lives will continue living on the earth.

Likewise, falling in and out of love functions according to the same cycles of life and death. When one love ends, another one is born, which is quite in tune with nature. However, the speaker is implicitly frightened and lost because of these universal rules according to each everything in the Universe works.  His insecurity is revealed through the symbol of read feather in the wind, which implies love. Because wind ( like death) is so much stronger than people’s ability to control their lives, it is made clear that it is a fate of humanity to live a fragile life and have even more fragile feelings.

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