Poem: Critical Analysis of The Poem Bat by D.H. Lawrence

June 05, 2022

 Summary of The Poem Bat by D.H. Lawrence 

As a lyric and an ode, the poem is a description of the attitude of the poet to the natural things around him including the swallow and the bat. The poet provides a vivid account of the activities of the birds on a particular night. In doing so, he provides a background account of the settings of the events. 

About The Poem

D.H. Lawrence wrote the poem at a time when English poetry was transiting from the romantic poetry of the nineteenth century to the modernist period which was the twentieth century. By then, the numerous effects of industrialization manifesting in a very subtle manner in the poetry of G.M. Hopkins, had become an intrinsic part of the poetry of D.H. Lawrence. Poetry, especially the poems of the modernist poets, was taking on a more open, conversational and realistically descriptive style. At the same time, Europe was going through a myriad of chaotic activities. Internal disparities and wars were leading to increased divisions amongst European nations. The increase in travel and exploration led to a more stratified society with more classes, class mobility and class ambiguity. The nineteenth-century focus on romantic poetry still left the remnants of its effects in the poetry of the next century as issues on nature were always being treated. All the while, the modernist tendencies of most of the writers led them to contrast nature with the gloomy realities that were direct consequences of industrialization. In ‘Bats’, Lawrence creates a poem that unifies both backgrounds by creating a poem about something in nature and describing his dislike for it in a modernist style. ‘Bat’ was published in an anthology entitled Birds, Beasts and Flowers. It was written during the period of Lawrence’s creative career where he focused his attention on animals, using them to examine human consciousness and sensibility.


Plot Account of The Poem Bat by D.H. Lawrence 

Lawrence accuses the mosquito of harming humans. The mosquito in this poem is ‘’Bat”. He stated that he did not like bats because of their nature. The opening stanza introduces the reader to the setting of the poem in Italy landmark like Pisa, Florence, Mountains of Carrara, Ponte Veccho and River Arno. The poet observed the sunset beyond the hills in the West. He saw things or swallows that fly at evening both forward and backward to touch the water with their bodies. Swallows or things are migratory birds that often attach their nests to buildings. They are nocturnal birds. The poet is irritated as bats fly in battalions over his head and towards the sky. Bats have wings like a piece of a wretched umbrella; hang themselves upside down in rows to sleep, looking more like an old rag. The poet demonstrated his hatred for bats when he said ‘’An grinning in their sleep.’’ Bats! Not for me!’’ It means a situation he cannot help anymore. 

The Poem Bat

At evening, sitting on this terrace,

When the sun from the west, beyond Pisa, beyond the mountains of Carrara

Departs, and the world is taken by surprise ...

When the tired flower of Florence is in gloom beneath the glowing

Brown hills surrounding ...

When under the arches of the Ponte Vecchio

A green light enters against stream, flush from the west,

Against the current of obscure Arno ...

Look up, and you see things flying

Between the day and the night;

Swallows with spools of dark thread sewing the shadows together.

A circle swoop, and a quick parabola under the bridge arches

Where light pushes through;

A sudden turning upon itself of a thing in the air.

A dip to the water.

And you think:

"The swallows are flying so late!"


Dark air-life looping

Yet missing the pure loop ...

A twitch, a twitter, an elastic shudder in flight

And serrated wings against the sky,

Like a glove, a black glove thrown up at the light,

And falling back.

Never swallows!


The swallows are gone.

At a wavering instant the swallows gave way to bats

By the Ponte Vecchio ...

Changing guard.

Bats, and an uneasy creeping in one's scalp

As the bats swoop overhead!

Flying madly.


Black piper on an infinitesimal pipe.

Little lumps that fly in air and have voices indefinite, wildly vindictive;

Wings like bits of umbrella.


Creatures that hang themselves up like an old rag, to sleep;

And disgustingly upside down.

Hanging upside down like rows of disgusting old rags

And grinning in their sleep.


In China the bat is symbol for happiness.

Not for me! 

Structure of the poem Bat

The poem is an ode and a lyric.

It has I fourteen stanzas which oscillate between a I one-line stanza (stanzas one and eight) two line stanzas (stanza three, seven and fourteen) and three-line stanza (stanza nine).

Language of the Poem

The poem is written in simple language with the ideas flowing from line to line and stanza to stanza as a result of the continuous run on-lines.

Setting of The Poem Bat by D.H. Lawrence

The setting is a terrace of a house in Italy, where the poetic persona observes the animals as they begin the process of settling in for the night. He appears to be a nature-lover from his beautiful description of the hues and aesthetics that form as the day draws to a close, as well as his close examination of the birds flying in the night sky.Apart from the fact that ‘Bat’ contains several Italian words, it has been extracted from the poetry collection, Birds, Beasts and Flowers, which is an anthology of poems that Lawrence wrote during a part of his tour of Europe when he stayed at San Cervasio, a city close to Florence, in Italy. The poem appears under the heading ‘Creatures’. Although the poetic focus is on bats, it does not immediately begin its description of bats at the beginning of the poem. The poetic persona mentions places and water bodies like Pisa, Carrara, Florence, Ponte Vecchio and Amo in the poem. Pisa is mentioned in line 2 of the poem, and it refers to a city in the Tuscany region of Central Italy. This city lies close to the Arno which is a large river. It is one of the most important rivers in Central Italy. The Amo is mentioned in line 8 of the poem. Carrara is another city that is also mentioned in the poem, precisely in line 2. It is located in the Tuscany region of Central Italy, which is West-Northwest of Florence. Florence is mentioned in line 4 of the poem, and it is linked to a flower that is native to the region. It is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany. In line 6, the name of another place that is mentioned is Ponte Vecchio, which is a bridge built with shops along it. It is located above the Amo River, which is also in Florence, Italy.Throughout the poem, the poetic persona is just an observer speaking out his thoughts to a listener. He focuses on the timelessness of nature, using the bat as the means of expressing his mind about nature. His vivid language and descriptions give him away as perhaps describing the unflattering chaos of the twentieth century in the similitude of an animal that he dislikes. Just like the bat represents an unwelcome animal in this beautiful and romantic scenery that is presented in the poem, so are the evils of industrialization also undesirable in the natural fields and woods that were part of Europe’s heritage. 

Subject Matter of The Poem Bat by D.H. Lawrence

The poem, by its title, seems to give away its subject matter already. Indeed, the ‘Bat’, as in the mammal, is the poetic focus here but the poem does not delve into it immediately. Instead, it begins as an observation of different places. It only unfolds into an observation of the bat at a later point in the poem. The poetic persona’s varying description of places and rivers turns into a language full of dislike and irritation while describing the bat. It could be that this caustic description of this animal that be dislikes could be a way for him to show his disaffection with Europe, at the beginning of the 20th century.

Line to line analysis of The Poem Bat 

The Poem bat: Line 1-3

The poem begins like a conversation between two people. It seems as if the poetic persona is about to let the listener in on a fascinating secret and this may be the reason why the poetic persona’s flow of thought, about what he is describing, extends beyond Stanza 1. He tells the listener the exact place to sit and observe the scenery, ‘...this terrace’ (line 1), as he watches the transition from daylight into night time. The poetic persona talks about places like ‘Pisa5 (line 2) and ‘beyond the mountains of Carrara’ (Une 2). He describes the setting of the sun as a phenomenon that takes the world by surprise.

The Poem Bat: Lines 4-5

In these two lines, the poetic persona continues his contemplative appraisal of the city as the sun goes down, the movement from an afternoon setting into dusk. He refers to the sun as the ‘tired flower of Florence5 in line 5 and describes it as not in bloom but in ‘gloom’. This is the poetic persona’s method of describing the commencement of sunset. He is precise in the description of the time that he has chosen to sit on this terrace to watch the setting sun. The expression, ‘the tired flower of Florence’ further 
emphasises the idea of the day drawing to a close. Usually, by the end of the day, activities in cities substantially reduce as various workplaces close and the workers go home to rest in preparation for the next day. Furthermore, the city tends to lose its vitality and vibrancy as it settles into the restfulness and quietness of the night, hence its description as a ‘tired flower’. Besides, Florence is a city in Italy. It is located in a valley surrounded by six hills, which are probably the ‘brown hills’ that the poetic persona refers to in line 5. The use of this expression allows the reader to form a mental picture of the city. 

The Poem Bat:Lines 6-8

He continues with his description of nature, as symbolized by the setting sun, in lines 6-8 and he mentions a place called Ponte Vecchio. Looking from the terrace and letting his eyes connect with places beyond the bridge, the poetic persona asks his listener to look out for when the green light of the emerging moonlight shines against the backdrop of Amo, a river. Through these observations, one can tell that rhe poetic persona is very knowledgeable about his environment. He describes places in the Tuscany region of Italy in the details and colours of the close of day. This tells the reader that the poetic persona is well informed about these places and that he has a vibrant idea of the scenery that he is presenting to the listener. The fact that he is mentioning the names of real places lends some veracity, realness and vibrancy that is rich in truth and believability to the reader. It also makes the poem easy to relate with, for those listeners. The mentioning of so many Italian cities helps to firmly establish Italy as the setting of the poem.
Furthermore, the poet paints a vivid verbal picture of what the city looks like as the sun begins to go down. The description of the ‘green light’ which ‘enters against the stream’ (line 7) is an example of visual imagery. It depicts the play of lights on the Amo River that accompanies the setting of the sun and the approach of night. Lines 1-8 are devoted to describing the beauty of the city as the sun goes down.

The Poem Bat: Lines 9-11

The descriptions by the poetic persona call the attention of the reader to things on land, things in the sky, things in the sea and things in the mind. Specifically, in these three lines, the poetic persona talks about the emergence of a flock of birds in the horizon. The poetic persona now turns from a descriptively conversational tone to a direct conversation with a listener, and it is where the speaker makes use of the objective personal pronoun ‘you’. The use of ‘you’ let the reader know that someone is being spoken to in die poem but he or she is absent within the poem. The poetic persona now shifts the focus of the listener from the numerous places he has mentioned to the sky. In line 9, he says, Took up, and you see tilings flying’. This statement redirects the readers to the title of the poem, ‘Bat’. However, what the poetic persona describes in line 11 are swallows which are another type of bird entirely. In line 11, the poetic persona talks on the features of the bird in flight
In these three lines, the focus shifts from the city, its environs, and the setting sun, to some as yet mysterious creatures flying across the sky. These creatures are referred to as ‘...things flying/Between the day and the night...’ (Lines 9-10). ‘Between the day and the night’ refers to twilight; that period of the day that comes just before it becomes completely dark. This expression is also an example of visual imagery, as it allows the reader to visualize the soft light cast by the setting sun and the approach of dusk. In the following line, the poetic persona identifies these creatures as swallows, which are birds. Once again, visual imagery is employed in line 11, where the poetic persona refers to the flying creatures as swallows with spools of dark thread sewing the shadows together.’ This line gives the
impression that the Swallows are flying so close together that they look like they have been sewn together with dark thread.

The Poem Bat: Lines 12-15

Again, in these four lines, the poetic persona continues with a description of what the birds that he is watching do while in flight. There is a vivid description of the movement of the creatures in the air. They appear not to fly in a straight line directly. On the contrary, they execute ‘a circle swoop and a quick parabola under the bridge arches’ (line 12). These specific descriptions make it easy to visualize the various ways that these creatures fly in the air. They fly in circles and swoop up and down in wide curves under the arches of the bridge. These creatures turn themselves over in mid-air (line 14) and dive towards the water (line 15). The dominant literary device in these lines is visual imagery. The swoops and dips executed by these creatures in mid-air are related in such detail that the reader can almost see them.In these lines, the poetic persona highlights the liberty and independence that is innate to these agents of nature - the birds. They are free, and their freedom is shown in the ingenious and different ways by which they fly as they move towards the location of the poetic persona, who is still apparently seated on the terrace.

The Poem Bat: Lines 16-17

In this short stanza, the poetic persona is particular about the type of birds that are flying towards him He calls them swallows and wonders why they are flying at that time of the day, so late in the evening. His confusion stems from the fact that ‘swallows’ are known to fly together as a large group and these two lines reveal that the poetic persona is surprised that these birds are flying at this time of the day.

The Poem Bat: Line 18

This single line stanza is a rhetorical question that highlights the poetic persona’s amazement and confusion that swallows could be flying so late in the day.lt is rendered powerful by the fact that it is just one word: ‘Swallows?’ This rhetorical question foregrounds the poetic persona’s confusion and dawning realization.

The Poem Bat: Lines 19-24

Line 19-24 allow the poetic persona to critically appraise the idea that the birds in the horizon that are flying towards him are swallows. He begins to describe the physical features of the bird: ‘Dark air-life looping/Yet missing the pure loop .../A twitch, a twitter, an elastic shudder in flight/And serrated wings against the sky/Like a glove, a black glove thrown up at the light/And falling back’. It is obvious to the reader that by line 24, the poetic persona has changed his mind about the identity of the birds flying towards him. An idea that is also subtly implied in these lines, is that the poetic persona does not want the listener to appreciate this creature in nature but to understand it as well. In essence, he wants the readers to understand the creatures in nature well enough to tell them apart. For instance, the vivid description of the bird also poetic persona has studied swallows enough to know7 that they do not fly by that time. Thus, he questions the ‘status’ of these birds flying in the sky. There is also a definite switch of style in these lines. The poetic persona goes from describing the scenery and places in the previous stanzas to describing the birds in question. He describes the way it flies and how its ‘loop’ is different from the usual loop of birds like the ‘swallow’. The poetic persona says the bird does not fly with ‘the pure loop’. The wings of the bird are described as ‘serrated’ (line 22) and the skin, as a ‘black glove’
(line 23) when contrasted against the dimming light of the evening sun. Both of these descriptions convey a subtly negative view of the creatures on the part of the poet persona. While ‘serrated wings’ describe the somewhat jagged look of these creatures’ wings, ‘black glove* suggests that they have an unseemly appearance. The poetic persona’s distaste for these creatures is subtly conveyed in these lines.
In line 19, they are referred to as ‘dark air-life’. This description highlights the fact that these creatures are nocturnal; they are usually active at night.

The Poem Bat: Lines 25-27

After outlining different features of the birds that are flying towards him in lines 19-24, the poetic persona immediately exclaims that these birds cannot be swallows but ‘bats!’ (line 25). The shock that he experiences at this stage is palpable and resonates strongly in line 25. It is obvious that the poetic persona has an aversion for bats, especially since he seems to express some regret, in line 27 that the swallows have disappeared and have been replaced by bats. In these lines, the poetic persona gets his epiphany; these are not swallows, but bats. In line 26, he exclaims, ‘Never swallows!’ The exclamation mark is used to show the extent of the poet- persona’s surprise. Line 28 is also italicized to show the force of the speaker’s shock at this realization.

The Poem Bat: Lines 28-30

The poetic persona seems to lament the fact that for a ‘wavering instant’,‘by the Ponte Vecchio’ (line 29),the birds had ‘changed guards’ (line 30) and switched places from the daytime swallows to the nocturnal bats. In these lines, the replacement of the swallows by bats is compared, metaphorically, to a military&ceremony at Buckingham Palace referred to as the ‘changing of the guard.’ During this ceremony, new sentries take over from the old ones. In the same vein, therefore, the swallows have been replaced by the bats.

The Poem Bat: Lines 31-33

In lines 31-33, the poetic persona begins a description of bats, and his description is not particularly alluring. His distaste for the bats is made more apparent. Seeing the bats fly overhead makes the speaker uneasy. He finds them so disturbing that he claims that watching them fly creates ‘an uneasy creeping in one’s scalp’ (line 31).This feeling of unease and discomfort that the presence of the bats gnites reinforces the fact that the poetic persona is not comfortable with these birds. The bats are the focus from here on. The way the bats fly in the sky is exposed to the listener they are described as ‘flying madly’ (line 33). The tone of the speaker is apprehensive in these lines. While the speaker takes the time to go into a detailed description of the skilful movements of the birds when he thought that they were swallows, he states that the bats are ‘flying madly’ when he now knows that they are bats. ‘Madly’ suggests that their movements are disorderly and chaotic. There is a sharp contrast between the almost enraptured Account of the swallows’ graceful flying and that of the bats.

The Poem Bat: Lines 34-36

The poetic persona calls the bird by its Italian name, ‘pipistrello’ (line 34). ‘The lines that follow are devoted to ^escribing the sounds that the bats make. Once again, the speaker’s feeling of revulsion towards this creature is evident. The bat is referred to as a ‘piper on an infinitesimal pipe’ (line 35). The repeated use of the word, ‘black’ to refer to the bat is deliberate. It is used to depict the negative feelings which the bats stir in the speaker. The use of that colour allows the reader to know that the speaker finds these creatures repulsive. Apart from sounding like black pipers, their voices are (line 36). In other words, even their voices make the speaker distinctly uncomfortable

Line 37 of The Poem Bat

In this line, the poetic persona continues with his description of the bat. He focuses on
are said to look like ‘bits of umbrella* (line 37). These descriptions give the readers a visual image the bat.

Line 38 of The Poem Bat

Line 38 is a single line, single word stanza, where the poet again foregrounds the name of  the bird that he detests so much, the hat.

Lines 39-40 of The Poem Bat

The poetic persona’s dislike for bats becomes very apparent in these lines For instance he sleeping habits are expounded on in a tone of disgust. According to the poem, they hang themselves up like an old rag, to sleep’ (line 39). He refers to their appearance while sleeping as closely resembling old rags At this point in the poem, it is obvious that the speaker detests bats. His loathing for these creatures is now blatant. Rags are old items of clothing that are usually soiled and dirty because they are constantly used to clean up dirty spots in the house. The comparison of the bats with rags therefore suggests that they have an unsightly appearance when they are asleep. Also, the poetic person state that they sleep ‘disgustingly upside down’(line 40). Bats usually sleep hanging upside down However the poetic persona describes this habit as ‘disgusting. ’ This statement conveys a strong tone of  revulsion These words are negative adjectives and show the intense dislike that the poetic persona has for bat

Lines 41-43 of The Poem Bat

At this stage of the poem, the poetic persona’s tone also becomes increasingly irritable He seems irritated by the bats’ colour, their ways of hanging upside down to sleep and other characteristics in line 41 he likens them to ‘disgusting old rags’. These lines further reveal the poetic persona instance dislike for bats. The contents of these lines mirror those of the previous lines. Once more, the sleeping mannerism of bats is examined with unconcealed loathing. The speaker states that they not only themselves upside down; ‘they also grin in their sleep (line 42). This line adds to the horrific image  of the bats already created.

Line 44 of The Poem Bat

Line 44 is another single line stanza. The poetic persona refers to a place like China and how in part of the world, bats are viewed as a symbol of happiness. It shows that what someone dislike could be someone else favorite.

Line 45

Again, like 44, this is another single line stanza. The poetic persona  is frank and direct about his  feeling and opinions on this matter. Although the bat is admired and revered in places like China, it is  not ao for him. As an individual, he ends the poem by forcefully affirming that he does not like bats in  this line, he emphatically states, ‘Not for me!’ 7his line is also in sharp contrast to the preceding one, and 4 helps to depict the extent of the poetic persona’s loathing for bats

Summary and Explanation of All Stanzas of The Poem Bat 

Stanzas One and Two of The Poem Bat

The poet sits in a strategic place to view nature in an evening. The setting sun (sun from the West) soon gives in to total nightfall and the calisthenic outing of the birds:
"The sun from the west (sun setting).. Departs, and the world is token by surprise 

Stanza Three of The Poem Bat

An account of the time setting continues ii this stanza. The flower is no more radiatin/ because of the sunset. 1
"...the tired flower of Florence is in gloon . (ceases to brighten 

Stanza Four of The Poem Bat

This stanza provides an insight into the spatial setting: The poet is possibly sitting on the slab of the bridge called Ponte Vecchio so that he is able to see rays of the setting sun shinning on the river Called Armo as the river streams from the opposite direction of the sun rays 

Stanza five of The Poem Bat

The swallows which use to join themselves together with black thread have been flying in 

Stanza Six of The Poem Bat

The irregular flight of the swallows is presented. The swallows fly round (circle swoop) and suddenly, dive snappily into the water under the bridge:
"... a quick parabola under the bridge arches"

Stanza Seven of The Poem Bat

The opinion of the poet is that the swallows have stayed on in the sky too late into the night.

Stanza Eight of The Poem Bat

The poet employs a one-word rhetorical question stanza to describe how the swallows disappear swiftly into the water under the bridge.

Stanza Nine

The poet reflects over the swift activities of the swallows as he has just observed them. He feels the swallows loop for too short a time and he wishes to see more action. 

"Dark air life, looping
He tries to recapture’ the sudden body movement (a twitch) of the birds, their high- pitch sound (twiner), their serrated  which he compares to "black glove" thrown up 
The swallows have all gone and then come the bats.  

 Stanza Ten of The Poem Bat

The bats replace the swallows with swiftness   and the poet watches the "guard“(the bats)   taking over the occupation of the Ponte   Vecchio from the swallows. 

Stanza Eleven of The Poem Bat

The bats fly madly across the bridge as if the change of guard as described above has been an uneasy victory for the bats. 

Stanza Twelve of The Poem Bat

The bats, described as "black piper" fly and make loud sound which is described as "pipistrello". They spread their wings like the bits of umbrella. 

Stanza Thirteen of The Poem Bat

Bats do suspend themselves head-long and effortless sleep at that position in. the air. They equally make their sound even when sleeping. 

Stanza Fourteen of The Poem Bat 

Although bats constitute a game for recreation and fun-caching in China. The poet does not derive such happiness as should be derived from the game in birds


The poem begins by giving the readers a clue on the setting of the poem. The time is evening. The physical setting is Italy. Some ancient cities like Pisa,  Florence,  Mountains of Carrara,  Ponte Vecchio and River Arno all portray the setting as Italy. 
The poet, looking towards the Ponte Vecchio,  an old bridge built in arches over the Arno River in Florence,  experiences tranquil atmosphere. The poet admires the entire beauty of natures which are radiating from mountains of Carrara down to Ponte Vecchio and to the Rover Arno. Suddenly, he sees swallows as he looks up. Those creatures are swallows with spools of dark thread sewing the shadows . 
Swallows are small birds with pointed wings and forked tail. The birds hover up and down the bridge. They move in any direction they see light under the bridge. The sight seems pleasing to the poet as they do not hover in the gross darkness unlike bat
There is a huge contrast between swallows and bats. While swallow is endearing, bat is irritating. In these lines the poet expresses open hatred towards bats. Swallows fly at sunset but bats take deep pleasure in thick darkness. The poet bitterly expresses disdain against bats. 
The poet continues with his contempt against bats. The poet says the swallows gave way for the bats by the Ponte Vecchio. The poet uses ‘changing guard’ a military term to describe how this birds change operation. In his further disdainful dispositions for bats, the poet reveals how the bat ‘swoop overhead madly‘. To swoop means to carry out a sudden raid. 
The poet describes bats using more harsh and unpleasant words. Bats are called Pipistrello in Italy. As tiny as bats are, they are expressing unreasonable desire for revenge. All about bat is disgusting to the poet. Bats ooze their disgusting voices from an infinitesimal pipe.
The poet describes hats with so many vilifying imageries. They hang themselves up like an old rag,  to sleep’ and disgustingly upside down 
While bat us highly disgusting to the poet, it is warmly revered and widely accepted in China. Chinese people consume bat with great relish. Apart from serving as edible meat in China, it is a symbol of good luck and happiness. 
Notwithstanding that bat is highly welcomed in China,  the poet still maintain his resolute stance on detesting bat

Themes of The Poem Bat

The Theme of Beauty of Nature 

Theme Analysis 
The poet describes the beauty of nature In the poem. He particularly identifies the following natural phenomena:
One, the beauty of sunset is showcased:
At evening, sitting on this terrace
When the sun from the West, beyond Pisa, beyond the mountain of Carrara.
The poet identifies the surrounding vegetation of the hill under the shadow of sunset
 When the tired flower of Florence is in Gloom beneath the glowing Brown' Hills surrounding

The serenity of the flow of the Riyer Amo in the dark evening; the river flow under the. Ponte Vecchio bridge and being Illuminated by rays of green lights is also described:
When under the arches of the Ponte Vecchio
A green light enters against the stream, flash From the West, August the current of obscure Arno.
Then, the poet goes on to describe the activities of the birds:
Swallows Look up, and you see things flying...
Swallows with spools of dark thread sewing...
The poet goes on to describe the fascinating display of the swallows in the air. He also describes the bats and their calisthenics activities thus:

Bats and an uneasy creeping in ones scalp
As the bats swoop overhead
Flying madly...
Creatures that hang themselves up /^J an old rag to sleep
And disgustingly upside down...... And grinning in their sleep

 Nature and Its Beauty

A careful reading of the lines of Bat, (especially the ones that speak of the flight of the swallows) will show you this one unmistakable theme. It is that nature, undisturbed, can be truly beautiful.This beauty of nature is portrayed through a careful selection of words. It is further reinforced by the poet’s deliberate use of rhythm in the relevant lines. Furthermore, the powerful evocation of nature imagery is for a purpose. It is meant to enable us to see nature in a positive way. The lines below are proof of how diction, imagery and rhythm are combined to show the beauty of nature in its primitive state.A circle swoop, and a quick parabola under the bridge arches Where light pushes through;A sudden turning upon itself of a thing in the air.A dip to the water.Apart from rhythm, diction and imagery, the poet also uses the bird (swallow), the sunset, the mountains (of Carrara) and the river (Arno) as symbols of nature.

The beauty in nature

One idea that permeates through this poem is the beauty in nature, and this shows the Romantic influence on the poetry of D.H. Lawrence. The poetic persona takes his time to describe the environment around him. The use of words in describing the setting sun and the emerging moon at evening time is so vivid and poignant. The poetic persona describes how he watches the setting of the sun, above the city of Pisa. In this first stanza, where this place is mentioned, he also describes the way the sun sets 'beyond the mountains of Carrara’ (line 2). The setting of the sun is presented using adjectives that make the place being described, more believable. Florence is the next place that the poetic persona talks about in Stanza 2. Here, he makes mention of the ‘flowers in (line 4) and ‘brown hills’ in (line 5) that surround it. Through this image  description of Florence, the poetic persona invites the reader to admire the immense beauty to be found in this beautiful Italian landscape. The poetic persona also talks about the Ponte Vecchio which is a bridge over the River Amo. The bridge’s beautiful arches are mentioned to ignite the imagination of the reader. In the lines that follow, the poetic persona begins to play with colours. In line 7, he makes the following statement: ‘a green light enters against stream, flush from the west’. The image of this stream, with different shades of green, is projected into the minds of the reader. The Amo, a little known river, is another spectacle of nature that is used to describe the beauty inherent in it. Besides, the poetic persona also talks about day and night, about dusk, about the shades the firmament takes when the sun is setting. All these are visual imagery of landscape, the sea and the sky. The reference made to various Italian cities and landmarks, such as the mountains of Carrara, the Ponte Vecchio bridge and the Amo River, allow the reader to appreciate the beauty and dignity of Italy. The ‘brown hills’ that surround Florence allow the poetic persona to create a mental picture of a charming city rendered even more colourful by the light of the setting sun. The poet persona states that ‘the tired flower of Florence is in gloom/beneath the glowing... ’This line creates a mental picture of a delicate and beautiful city which is bathed in the light of the setting sun. It also creates a calming effect because the reader is made aware of the act that the day is drawing to a close, towards the time that both man and nature rests. Therefore, the detailed descriptions of the landscape and the lights cast by the setting sun enable the reader to see through the poet persona s eyes and appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature.
The links between nature and technology, science, art, design and many other fields can be seen in the way the poetic persona describes some of the elements of nature. This is one of the beauties of nature - its links to all aspects of man’s endeavours. For example, the bat’s wings are described' its of umbrella’ in line 37. This statement could infer that the design of the umbrella might have been borm out of man’s observation of this mammal. The poet also compares the bird’s swoop with that of a quick parabola’ in line 12 linking the curve at which the bird flies with the parabolic curve in Mathematics.Also, even though the poetic persona dislikes bats, he still takes his time to describe the distinctive features of the bat as well as the swallow. This shows that nature might hot always be admired for all its features by people but its features will not go unappreciated, although disliked. Furthermore, the poetic persona’s dislike of the bat does not stop other people from other cultural backgrounds from appreciating its beauty. Their admiration for it is so much that they equate it with happiness.

The Theme of The Relationship Between Humans and Nature 

Theme Analysis: Humans and nature do not exist in isolation from each other. One way or the other, nature affects humans and vice versa. For example, the poetic persona appears to gain pleasure from watching the swallows glide through the air, utterly oblivious to their one-person audience. Therefore, nature can be a source of delight and fulfilment to man. However, nature can also be a source of revulsion to humans. The speaker is completely put off by the bats. Everything about them repulses him; their appearance, their sleeping habits, their voice. Bats are nocturnal creatures; they are most active at night, and this is why they come out at the end of the day.
Nonetheless, the speaker finds them disgusting and unsightly. The mere sight of them fills him with apprehension. However, it is interesting to note that despite his aversion to these creatures, he knows a lot about them. It gives the impression that he has taken the time to study them despite his loathing. Furthermore, nature has been known to play an essential role in various human cultures and traditions all over the world. In certain places, animals are deified and worshipped. For example, the poetic persona states, 'In China, the bat is a symbol of happiness’ (line 44). In various places around the world, certain animals and even plants in some cases are given religious and cultural significance. In this case, the bat is considered a good omen in China. However, this significance changes from place to place. This is why the poetic persona passionately exclaims, ‘Not for me!* (line 45).
Man and nature will always interact and influence each other one way or the other, be it negatively or positively. In this poem, both sides of this influence are portrayed. While the graceful movements of the birds initially enrapture the speaker, he is also put off by the appearance of the bats. In the same vein, the bats are a source of disgust and unease to the speaker, but they are used to symbolize happiness in China.

The Theme of Natural Grace of Birds in Flight

Theme Analysis: The poetic persona’s detailed description of the various patterns formed by the swallows in flight foregrounds this theme. The birds execute ‘a circle swoop, a quick parabola’ and ‘a dip to the water.' These expressions capture the reader’s imagination and call attention to the elegance of birds in flight They form various patterns that are riveting and pleasing to the eye. The poet, therefore, highlights the pleasures that are to be gained simply from paying more attention to one’s natural environment and the creatures that inhabit it. 

Theme of Cultural Differences 

Theme Analysis: Next in our analysis of Bat is a look at yet another theme that could have easily escaped anybody’s attention.
I’m here referring to the theme of cultural differences. We can explore the theme of cultural differences in the poem, Bat from, at least, three different angles.
Here they are.
The difference between the past (often romanticized) way of life and the modernist way of life. We’ve already said a lot about this under the themes of change and nature.
The difference between the cultural attitudes of foreigners and our own (and the prejudice that goes with the way we perceive foreign attitudes)
Let me explain this one.
The poet tells us that the bat is a “symbol for happiness” among the Chinese. But, for a Westerner like him, it is not. As far as he is concerned, the bat is the opposite of everything that has to do with happiness.
In China bat is symbol for happiness
Not for me!
The vitriol, and the tone of contempt that ring through the above lines is almost unmistakable. And the feeling of his own cultural superiority cannot be denied.
Herein lies the issue of the poet’s irrational prejudice and hatred, not only toward bats but also against people who don’t regard them with the same disdain as he does.
A celebration of cultural diversity
However, there is this unequivocal acknowledgement on the part of the persona that there are other cultures where the same bat is held in high esteem. One man’s meat is another man’s poison, you may say.
The poet thus appears to be celebrating cultural diversity. And, if so, then it again goes to cement the other theme of peaceful co-existence or synergy we saw earlier.

The Theme of Irrational Prejudice

 Theme Analysis: One of the major themes in OH. Lawrence's "Bat" is irrational prejudice, it states irrational dislikes the poet persona exhibit towards the mammal. Lawrence is best known for his various types of prejudice he shares in his animal poems, for instance, his notably or perhaps his best-known poem, "Snake," when he throws a log at a snake, not because he particularly wants to, but because people generally dislike snakes, and he feels a gesture of hostility is required.
In this poem, the poet persona seems to loathe bats. He describes their physical appearance in words filled with repulsions" Creatures that hang themselves up like an old rag, to sleep; And disgustingly upside down. Hanging upside down like rows of disgusting old rags And grinning in their sleep. Bats!" The quick procession of the adverb "disgustingly" and the adjective "disgusting" emphasizes the strength of the speaker's feelings. The bats have spoiled his quiet evening amidst the beauties of Florence

Theme of Nostalgia 

Theme Analysis
Never swallows!
The swallows are gone.
This sounds very much like someone, being deeply disappointed, crying (like a child) for the return of the beloved swallows.
As I pointed out already, the swallows here represent untainted nature in its glory. They stand for the past as it was in the period before the onset of the industrial revolution.
Now, that period seems to have disappeared forever. In its place has come the factories of mass production and pollution. This new way of life is what the bats represent.
The poet is devastated as a result. A note of despair can be heard in the above lines. He cries out, hoping that, somehow, someone would heed his call for a return to the past life.

The Theme of Right to Individual Preference

Theme Analysis: The theme of the right to individual preference is prevalent in Lawrence's "Bat". Under this theme, we learned that every individual has equal rights to choices and decisions about matters of life. From the beginning of the poem, the poet persona's uniqueness and convictions of what he wants and detest are obvious and loud clearly and compellingly.
The poet persona in the last stanza contrasts the affection the Chinese have for bats with his dislike for the bird. The poet's creativity to pitch a society against the individual and let the individual win to convey the importance of individual preference over the decision making of life matters. 

The Theme of Realties of Human Consciousness 

Theme Analysis: The way the poet sees bat reflects the realities of human consciousness. The bat evokes a sense of sadness and bitterness in the poet. The mere sight and thought of the bat spoils the poet’s happy mood. The bat represents the pain that humans encounter in the world.   At end, the poet exclaims, ‘Not for me’. This shows his level of     consciousness. A sudden shift in the light of the swallows that are gone and replaced with the pain and fear at the grinning of the bats.
Haman's must have an in-depth knowledge of the elements of nature
In ‘Bat’, the poet shows that he admires nature and that he has an in-depth knowledge of nature and its element. One can admire something without understanding it. Admiration is usually superficial while understanding on the other hand, goes deeper. Understanding is not just concerned with the beauty of a thing but with the unique features that make that thing what it is. In this poem, the poetic persona makes a subtle reference to the fact that he admires nature and also understands it, especially the creatures within it. From the beginning ot the poem, the poetic persona describes several places and admires their beauty. He describes these places in detail and colour, using imagery to get the listeners to set through his mind’s eye. His in-depth knowledge of nature and its elements enable him to present graphic descriptions of the birds flying above in the sky. He understands the periods of the day when they fly, the way they flew, their different bodily features and even the noises that emanated from them. It is this understanding that helps him know it is not a flight of swallows that are flying but a colony of bats. His knowledge of each bird type helps him to appreciate them differently and better than he would have done if he did not understand their unique characteristics. It also helps to state, categorically, the bird type that he prefers.

 Hatred for Bats Theme

Theme Analysis: The poet seems to have a dislike for bats.  He expresses his hatred for bat thus:
In China the bat is a symbol of happiness
Not for me!
Nature: The poet gave reference to nature. Names of ancient cities, places in Italy like Pisa, Florence, Mountains of Carrara, the arches of the Ponte Vecchio and River Arno were beautifully described. The poet also revered ‘’the sun from the west’’, ‘’evening’’, ‘’tired flower’’, ‘’Brown hills’’, ‘’air’’, ‘’the water’’ as parts of nature.
Happiness: Bats is a symbol of happiness in China. The poet sees it as a bad omen. It shows that what a person dislike may be a thing of happiness to others.   

Life is full of deceptive self-assertions Theme

Theme Analysis: One of the points that D.H. Lawrence makes in this poem is that life is full of misconceptions. At times, as human beings, we can be very subjective as we make decisions on different aspects of our lives. These decisions can be predicated on misconceived notions, which can further confuse. With the context of the poem, nature is presented as one of the best creators of optical illusion(deception) and thus, an excellent creator of misconception. In line 11, the poetic persona asks the listener to loot up and notice the birds flying in the sky. At first, the poetic persona describes them as swallows. He describes the bird’s wings, the way it moves through the air, the way it dips its wings in the river, and it is evident that he believes his idea of what the bird is, is true. On closer inspection, however, the poetic persona also begins to reflect on the period of the day when these ‘swallows’ are flying around. It is late at night and swallows are not known to be nocturnal birds. This awareness leads to the poetic persona exclaiming that these cannot be swallows after all but bats.
While looking at the birds in the horizon that they were flying towards him, the poetic persona, in his mind, had concluded that the birds must be swallows. Rather than wait for them to move closer to him to make an informed and sensible decision about the type.of birds that were flying towards him. the poetic persona goes ahead to provide vivid descriptions of the birds, gives explanations that were in tandem with his preconceived idea that the birds were swallows. An essential point that the poet seems to be making in the poem, is that the perception of life by humans at times is predicated on parochial or self-centred ideas that we are unwilling to change, even when we are confronted with incontrovertible evidence that our position on a particular issue or matter is based on subjective misconceptions.

Nature as Object of Recreation Theme

Theme Analysis: In the poem, nature is presented as object of recreation for humans. For recreation, the poet has stepped out of his house to  the riverside. There, he absorbs the serenity and pleasure of the element while Watching with fascination the flight of the swallows. He also observes the bats flying 
The poet gives effect to the recreational value of nature as illustrated in the poem thus:
In China the bat is a symbol of happiness...

 Theme of disappointment or reversal  

Theme Analysis: Another noticeable theme in Bat is that of disappointment or reversal in fortunes.
The poem apparently has something else to say. His message seems to go beyond the dominant theme of change from a life of simplicity to one bogged down by the dangers of modernity that we just saw.
So, what of this other theme?
It is this idea that life is full of disappointments. We are never sure of what is real and what is not. And we must be prepared for unmet expectations as we move through life.
Moreover, the reality is always not so real after all.
This is why human beings are prone to get disappointed when what they expect turns out to be a different thing altogether.
In Bat, D.H. Lawrence registers, in very strong terms, his disappointment with the sudden turn of events. His initial joyful experience with the image of the swallows is quickly wiped away.
Sadly, it turns out to be a fleeting joy. It disappears so suddenly.
But this is the reality of man’s existence. And we need to accept it and live with it. It is obvious this is another lesson to take away from the poem Bat 



The poet uses many symbols in this work. The poem is a modernist poem with a flavour of the romantic tradition. Hence, Lawrence makes use of nature and creatures from nature as symbols. The bat is a significant symbol used in the poem. His description of bats, for instance, comes with a scathing style and acidity that can only be termed modernist. In using ‘bat’, as a symbol, the poet was indirectly creating a logo of his pessimistic view of Europe at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Symbols can change depending on the setting in which the symbols are used. In some places, the colour black signifies death or mourning while in some other cultures, white signifies peace. In this poem, the poetic persona refers to Chinese culture and what the bat symbolizes to the Chinese. In China, the ‘bat’ symbolizes ‘happiness’, but the poetic persona reiterates in the last stanza of the poem that the bat does not symbolize such to him. One can, therefore, infer from the poetic persona's use of words and phrases like‘wildly vindictive’ (line 36) ‘disgusting’ (line 40) and ‘uneasy creeping in one’s scalp’ (line 31) while describing the bat that it symbolizes something irritating and sinister to him. Within the context of this poem, the appearance of the , bats is ominous, a symbol of something terrible and destructive that had happened, that was happening and could still occur in Europe. It also symbolizes the untoward effects of industrialization. The poem was written in 1923, five years after the catastrophic First World War, during which more than 37 million people died. Most of the deaths were caused by the development and production of very deadly armaments, which highlighted the increasing dependence on technology, a significant feature of industrialization.
At the beginning of the poem, the poet describes places, bridges, flowers, streams and rivers. The poetic persona’s description of nature shows a world of serenity and bliss that was nineteenth-centmy Europe before the era of industrialization. In lines 9 and 10, the poetic persona makes the following statement:, ‘Look up, and you see things flying/between the day and the night’. The ‘day’ represents the nineteenth while the twentieth century is represented by the ‘night’. The poetic persona’s description of bats in a very disgusting manner conveys his unhappiness at the debilitating effects of industrialization on the environment and on the people of Europe during this period. The description, ‘little lumps that fly in air...* in line 36 of the poem, could refer to the black, thick lumps of smoke created in the air by the numerous factories that were springing up throughout Europe. This is because bats are black and the description of them as lumps in the air makes this analysis and inference, plausible.
The way the unwelcome bat enters and disrupts the poetic persona’s idyllic and romantic description of nature is a symbolic representation of how industrialization came and disrupted the bliss that nature embodied. 

Use of punctuation marks as poetic device 

In this poem, there is ample use of punctuation marks by the poetic persona. From the full stop to the question mark, no punctuation stone is left unturned. The comma is used in almost all the lines, the ellipsis is used in lines 3, 5, 8, 20 and 29, the semicolon is used in lines 10, 13, 36 and 39, the exclamation mark is also used in lines 17,25,26,32,34, 38,43 and 45 while a question mark features in line 18. The poem moves and swerves like a conversation and sometimes like a stream of thoughts There are descriptions, there are exclamations, there are questions, and there are omissions. All these punctuation marks guide the reader to a better understanding of the poem and its inherent message For example, in Stanza 1, the reader is carried like one floating through an endless stream into endless possibilities and omissions through the use of the ellipsis in line 3.
In line 18, the poetic persona asks a question: ‘swallows?* With this simple question, the poetic persona affirms his amazement that the birds flying in the horizon might not be swallows. The answer to his question is given in line 26, where the poetic persona replies, ‘Bat*!’ In this line, the speaker confirms that the birds are not swallows but bats using the emphatic nature of the exclamation mart The poet persona’s ample use of these different punctuation marks affects how the poem is read. They introduce a pause where a pause is needed, they give speed where it is most required and help in sensitizing the imagination of the readers. The punctuation marks help the poem retain its mystery as a work of art, as the reader slowly gleans the poem’s message. 


 Each line has its meaning flow into another. 


  Ponte Vecchio is a medieval stoned-a segmental arch bridge over the Arno River, in Florence, Italy. Another way is ‘’Mountain Carrara’’—Carrara marble is a type of white or blue-grey marble of high quality, popular for use in sculpture and building decoration.


 It is the use of two contrasting words, phrases or sentences. Bats are the symbol of happiness and good fortune in China but the poet sees bats as disgusting and ill-omen creatures.


The poetic persona also makes use of metaphors. In line 11, the poetic persona compares the way fl* swallows fly in the sky with the way spools of dark thread sew things together. This creates the images of numerous black birds in the sky looking like they have been sewn into each other because of symphony in their movement. This metaphor helps to sharpen the already vivid image created milt preceding lines The swallows are flying so close together that it looks as if they are held together 'spools of dark thread .*
In line 36, the bats are described as ‘little lumps’. They are not said to look like ‘little lumps’b® that they arc ‘little lumps’. As noted earlier, these comparisons arc drawn from everyday objects so tha the readers can imagine the creatures more vividly. Various examples of metaphors include
‘ When the tired flower of Florence is in gloom’ (line 4)
In these lines, the poetic persona compares the darkening city to a ‘tired flower.’ This helps to create the visual image of nightfall and the sun gradually setting.
‘Changing guard’ (line 30)
The change of the flying creatures in the night sky from swallows to bats is compared to the ceremocii changing of guards at Buckingham Palace. Just as the old guards are replaced by new ones, the swallow? have been replaced by bats


In this poem, there is an appeal to the visual senses of thereader. Everything in this poem is a description by the poetic persona. Lines 1-8 present vivid images of places, bridges and rivers. In lines 9-18, swallows and the way they fly are the next things that the poetic persona describes. Then, lines 19-45, the poetic persona presents images of the bat.
Initially, it is places and things that the poetic persona observes in the Tuscany region of Italy that are described. This description is done with emphasis on visual imagery. The first line of the poem begins with, ‘at evening...’ (line 1). This statement immediately creates the imagery of the evening in the mind of the reader. Deliberately, the poetic persona continues to guide the images that are being created in die mind of the reader. In lines 2-3, he talks about ‘When the sun from the west, beyond Pisa, beyond the mountains of Carrara world is taken by surprise/Departs, and the world is taken by surprise... * These lines reinforce the images in the mind of the reader that the poem is set in the evening. The reader’s thoughts are filled with images of dusk and the cloudy dark look of a night in which the sun is still slowly fading away. The poetic persona also describes the topography like ‘mountains’ (line 2), ‘flowers’ (line 4), ‘brown hills’ (line 5) and ‘obscure Amo’ (line 8). All these visual images help the reader to remember and imagine the places that the poetic persona describes in the poem. The poetic persona creates vivid mental images in the mind of the reader through the lucid descriptions of the atmosphere, the city, the swallows, and the bats. In lines 1-10, he artfully portrays the play of colours that are usually associated with the setting of the sun.
The first line informs the reader that the events in this poem occur in the evening. The mention of cities such as Pisa, Carrara and Florence firmly establishes Italy as the setting of the poem. Expressions such as ‘When the sun.. .departs,’ (lines 2-3), ‘...Florence is in gloom,’ (line 4) and ‘between the day and the night’ (line 10) all work together to create the image of twilight; that period of the day when the sun has not completely set, but it is no longer day time. 
In the remaining stanzas, the poetic persona describes the birds I here is an emphasis on movemen that if, kinaesthetic imagery In line 12, the speaker talks about the bird* making, ‘a circle swoop, a quick parabola under the bridge arches’. Here, the poetic persona gives the readers visual imager of bow the birds move. After reading this, the readers can imagine the movement of birds through air as they form circles in the sky. One can also imagine the birds flying and curling around the archt* of the bridge in a snakelike wrap as they fly round and round the Ponte Vecchio Bridge Similarly the readers can imagine the birds flying low as though they are about to plunge into the water only i suddenly curve with a little dip of the tip of their wings: teasing the never. This is aptly described in line, 14-15: ’A sudden turning upon itself of a thing in the air/a dip to the water’. The detailed descriptions the swallows’ graceful, almost acrobatic movement creates visual imagery. Lines 14-15 also enable the reader to appreciate the gracefulness of the birds’ movements as they fly around.
As soon as the poetic persona becomes aw are that the birds are bats, the description becomes mot? detailed in the depiction of the movement of the bats, in the visual and in the auditory sense. When the poetic persona describes the movement of the birds, in the horizon as ‘dark air-life looping’ (line I9t the reader imagines these birds as life forms made out of dark air, moving in angles that can form a loop The speaker does not stop here; he continues in line 21 where he talks about, ‘a twitch, a twitter, a elastic shudder in flight’. A twitch is a sudden movement, almost involuntary and beyond one’s control The readers are made to imagine the birds as they move like this and then later make high pitched sounds as they twitter and fly through the air in vibratory movements. In this single line, the wnterlw been able to fuse the visual, the kinaesthetic and the auditory forms of imagery. Even the wings art visually called to mind by the poetic persona’s use of visually stimulating phrases like 'serrated wings in line 22 and ‘wings like bits of umbrella’ in line 37.
When the speaker shifts his focus to the bats, the reader is presented with the image of disorder and ugliness. Unlike the swallows which fly in ‘a quick parabola’ with ease, the bats are ‘dark air-life looping/ Yet missing the perfect loop.’ The swallows execute complicated flying patterns quite cash, but the bats are unable to do so. The bats are further described as a ‘black glove thrown up against & light’. In other words, the bats are rather ugly creatures that block out the dimming light as they fly across the night sky. The sounds they make are ‘wildly vindictive’; they are discordant and unpleasant Furthermore, they hang themselves up to sleep ‘like old rags’ and ‘disgustingly upside down.’ This line fully expresses the speaker’s abhorrence of the anima s and presents them as offensive and repulsive creatures.


The poetic persona adopts a conversational tone in this poem. The language is very simple, and the reader has a good understanding of the message that the poetic persona is trying to pass across to the reader.
Another exciting thing in the poem is the poet’s use of several Italian words. The use of Italian words helps in establishing the fact that Italy is the physical setting of the poem. At a point in the poem, Lawrence calls bat in its Italian name, which is ‘pipistrello’ (line 34). The poet also mentions places like ‘Pisa* (line 2), ‘Carrara’ (line 2), ‘Florence’ (line 4), ‘Ponte Vecchio’ (line 6) and ‘Arno’ (line 8).

Structure of The Poem Bat by D.H. Lawrence 

‘Bat’ by D.H. Lawrence is a 45-line poem with no exact stanzaic structure. The stanzas, if one is to call them stanzas in the strict sense of the word, are not entirely made of the same number of lines. In someplaces, just one word or line makes up a stanza. However, if one is to think of these clusters as stanzas then the poem is made up of 18 stanzas. The first stanza contains three lines. The second stanza contains two lines while the third stanza has three lines. The fourth stanza is made up of three lines while the fifth stanza contains four lines. The sixth stanza consists of two lines while the seventh stanza contains one line. The eighth stanza contains six lines; the ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth stanzas contains three lines each. The thirteenth and the fourteenth stanzas contain one line, the fifteenth stanza contains two lines, the sixteenth stanza contains three lines, the seventeenth and eighteenth stanzas contain one line each. Lines 18, 26, 34, 38 and 43 have only one word each, and they are all names of birds. Line 18 mentions ‘swallows’ while the other lines seem to reply with the word ‘bats!’. Line 34 mentions the word bat in its Italian version, ‘pipistrello’. The one line stanzas are known as monostich. A whole poem can consist of just one line. In poetry, a single line of poetry can be called a stich. Thus, a mono means ‘one’ while a stitch simply means ‘line’, therefore, monostitch means ‘one-line’.

The structure of this poem has an enjambment form. Thus, the thoughts in one line flow into the next line. The use of this device makes the poem to also sound like a conversation. Within the poem, the poetic persona seems to be speaking to a listener. This style of artistic creativity helps the reader relate more with the contents of the poem because he imagines himself as the person that is being addressed. Besides, the first three stanzas of the poem and lines 20 and 29 end with an ellipsis. This is very important in the understanding of this structure because the use of ellipses implies that there are omissions in the poem or vast descriptions left unsaid. The poem is also written in free verse, probably to allow the poet to fully express his abhorrence of the bats.  


 The poem is written in simple prose-like form. It employs ellipsis to show that the poem is a personal emotional opinion of the poet. Language: Lawrence used violent words or expression to express his hatred for bats. Words like ‘’flying madly,’’ ‘’voices indefinite, ’’wildly vindictive,’’ ‘’old rags,’’ ‘’disgusting,’’ ‘’Black Piper.’’ The use of ‘’black’’ here connotes ‘’devil’’ or ‘’evil.’’ ‘’Disgusting’’ means something bad, unfair, inappropriate that you feel annoyed and angry.


 The poet makes use of harsh and disdainful tone that reveals his strong hatred for bat. 


The mood of the poem is initially reflective and thoughtful. However, from line 26, the mood becomes forceful, as the poetic persona makes no effort to hide his disgust.

Figures of Speech


Darl Life, ⦁ secreted wings against the sky - a wave rings instant the swallows gives way.. Changing guard ⦁ Black piper on an infinitesimal pipe little lumps ⦁ voices indefinite


In the poem, the poet makes use of simile. This can be found, first of all, in line 23, where the speaker says the bats are, 'like a glove, a black glove thrown up at the light’. In describing the bats, the poetic persona compares them with gloves that have been thrown against the light of the receding sun. When ‘black gloves’ are thrown up at the light’, they are very likely to block out the light. In the same vein, therefore, these repulsive creatures block out the slowly-fading light of the setting sun.
By the time one gets to line 37, the poetic persona says that the bats’ wings are like ‘little bits of umbrella’. In this line, he compares the spine-like patterns on the wings of bats to the same pattern used in the design of umbrellas. A bat’s wings, when examined closely, actually look like pieces of an umbrella. This apt comparison, therefore, is used to create a vivid mental picture of a bat in the mind of the reader. It is evident that the poetic persona has taken things from everyday life and used them to illustrate the wings of the bat. This illustration enables those who have never seen a bat to use that comparison to imagine how a bat would look. Various examples of simile within the poem include the description of bats as ‘Creatures that hang themselves like an old rag, to sleep’ (line 39). This simile foregrounds the off-putting image that the bats form when they hang themselves upside down to sleep. A strong tone of disgust and loathing is evident here. Likewise in line 41, a simile is used in the following expression to describe bats: ‘Hanging themselves upside down like rows of disgusting old rags...’ This device is used in this line to convey the speaker’s disgust at the habit the bats have of sleeping in rows, and upside down. It should be noted here that, despite his apparent aversion to the creatures, the poetic persona appears to have considerable knowledge of their features and attributes, both physical and otherwise. It can therefore, be deduced that the poetic persona is a lover of nature.


The poet uses the literary device, personification, in this poem. For example, personification is evident in the early parts of the poem where references are made to the sun. Personification occurs in a work of art when human attributes are given to something non-human or the presentation of an abstract idea in human form. Personification is used in lines 2-3, ‘When the sun from the west, beyond Pisa, beyond the mountains of Carrara/Departs, and the world is taken by surprise’. In these two lines, the sun possesses the ability to depart from a place and go to another place. The use of personification is also seen in lines 4-5, where the poet talks about the time ‘When the tired flower of Florence is in gloom beneath the glowing/Brown hills surrounding’. In these lines, we have the personification of the flower of Florence through the use of the words ‘tired’ and ‘gloom*.


Another figure of speech nestled within this poem is alliteration; that is, the repetition of consonant sounds in the initial letters of words in a single line. The first place where one can notice this is in line 4. In this line, the poetic persona says, ‘when the tired flower of Florence is in gloom’. Here, the consonant sound /f7 is repeated. This is used to create the semblance of a breeze blowing at the gloomy flower in the background. It creates a complete imagery that the speaker projects to the reader. Besides, this figurative device is also used in line 21, where the poetic persona says’ a twitch, a twitter...’ The consonant sounds /t/ and /w/ in close succession are the sounds being repeated in this line. Interestingly, this is the line where the birds are said to be twittering. Twitter is a verb usually associated with a short high pitched sound usually made by birds. Its sound is usually like that of the sounds /V and /w/ following in close succession. Various examples of alliteration in this poem include ‘the day.,4 j night..,* (line 12) ‘swallows with spools of dark thread sewing the shadows together’ (line 11),[ ‘Little lumps’ (line 36).

Rhetorical questions

There are also rhetorical questions in this poem. The poetic persona asks questions without expect a reply from his listener. One rhetorical question that appears within this poem is in line 18 when the poetic persona asks ‘swallows?* Its lone presence in this line affects the entirety of the next lines of the poem, which are lines 19-45. Although the poetic persona does not expect an answer from the listener, he spends the following several lines answering that question, emphasizing and describing the features of the bat, to show that the birds being described are bats and not swallows. The rhetorical question is also of symbolic use within the poem. It could be a call for people not to blindly accept what people describe to them as the truth but to cultivate a habit of digging out the truth themselves.
Repetition: It is when an expression or a word is used more than one tome. Words like ‘’upside down’’, ‘’old rags’’ and ‘’disgusting’’ shows the poet’s strong hatred for bats. Other repeated words are ‘’glove’’, ‘’swallows’’ and ‘’Bats’’. 

The Poetic devices used in the poem bat by d.h. lawrence are Repetition, Symbolism, Enjambment, Personification, Alliteration, Rhetorical questions, Antithesis, Imagery. And many more


At various points in the poem, ‘Bats! ’ is repeated. The repetition of the word, as well as the exclamation mark used each time, emphasizes the speaker’s intense feelings of loathing and detestation for die creatures.


Look up... you see... And you think (the *poet is in monologue) • Personification The sun... Departs..., - A green light enters, Light pushes


Twitter, pipistrello, voices, grinning

Transferred Epithet

- Obscure Arno, Tired Flower, Brown hills Alliteration Flower... Florence/f/


• little lumps/I/ - Flush from/f/ • A twitch a twitter /(/ - Piper on... pipe/p/


Pipistrelle It is a kind of music played on pipe. The I sound of the birds is here represented in I a rhythmic form.

The Poem Bat Review Box

Poem Author David Herbert Lawrence
Authors Profile   Lawrence was born on September 11,1885 in Eastwood, Nottingham shire. He studied with scholarship in the University of Nottingham shire and taught for most-part of his active age. He also engaged himself in writing novels, plays and poems, especially on wild life, and political activism Lawrence died on 2nd March, 1930 .
Release Date 1879
Poem Type Lyric and Ode
Star Rating 5 Star
Literary Devices Figures of Speech
Poetic Devices
Theme List
All you need to know
Questions and Answer