The Blue Booby James Tate

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The Blue Booby" by James Tate is a metaphor for the mating rituals between man and woman. It is a remote, wistful, and almost amused look at how charming and uncomplicated life could be without the devices of civilization, if men and women only were in complete harmony with each other and their surroundings.


The blue of its feet is the blue of the sky and the sea where it lives. It is a blue that holds a fascination for the bird: this blue is the best collectible(they gather the blue /objects of the world ) as well as a cherished gift (the blue satisfies her/ completely, has /a magical effect/on her). On the surface, the poem is about these birds and these birds only. No mention is made of men or women throughout, only an adroit suggestion in the line: "from her day of/ gossip and shopping", which hints at a woman, and turns the entire poem into a masterly metaphor.
The initial lines , with their alliteration of "The blue booby ... bare rocks", paints a picture of utter simplicity, of a bird living on unclad rocks, who "fears nothing": "It is a simple life:/ they live on fish,/ and there are few predators". A life without hunger or fear takes away most of the predicament that plagues the human situation, and the male bird is not particularly occupied with the many quandarys of attracting a mate: "the males do not/make fools of themselves/ chasing after the young/ladies". The simple, prose-like sentences convey just the right nuance of expression, and the use of the word "ladies", emphasizes the human comparison.
The simple expedient for the blue booby is to build a bower of love w ...
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