This poem compares the evolutionary paths of basking sharks and humans. The sharks’ lives remain relatively unchanged for millions of years, but humans lead vastly changed lives.
MacCaig employs a regular rhythm and rhyme scheme in this poem. Why do you think he does this?
To try to imitate the rhythmic quality of the sea
To create a fast pace
To make it easy to understand
What is unusual about the title and the rest of the poem?
The title suggests that the poem will be about a different subject
That after the title, the shark is never directly mentioned again
The title becomes part of the opening line
What is the rock mentioned in the opening line?
The shore line
An island in the middle of the lake
What is unusual about the word slounge?
It is a neologism - an invented word
It is a verb but the poet uses it as a noun
It is a word usually associated with reptiles
How is a link created between the first and second stanza?
The poet uses enjambment to run on from the first stanza into the second
Both the last line of stanza 1 and the first line of stanza 2 contain the phrase too often
The opening line of both stanzas is the same
Which two techniques are contained within the phrase a sea tin-tacked with rain?
a sea tin-tacked with rain
Simile and personification
Transferred epithet and metaphor
Metaphor and alliteration
The shark is described as a room sized monster with a matchbox brain. Which technique has the poet used here?
room sized monster
The final stanza opens with the question So who’s the monster? Why do you think the poet does this?
So who’s the monster?
To show how afraid he is of the shark
To imply that it is humanity, not the shark who is the monster
To repeat the question he asked in the opening line
Why does the speaker grow pale at the end of the poem?
He thinks the shark could topple the boat
It is getting dark and he is alone
He realises mankind is more capable of destruction than the shark
For twenty seconds while, sail after sail/The tall fin slid away and then the tail How does the poet emphasise the slow, leisurely motion of the shark in these lines?
For twenty seconds while, sail after sail/The tall fin slid away and then the tail
Through the use of caesura and contrast
Through the use of repetition and assonance
Through personification and onomatopoeia