Recognized by its plants and its animals

Question on my mind right now is the extent to which Moore differentiates between the glaciers of the mountain and the mountain itself — which of these is the octopus or does it not matter.

Below is a quick list of the animals, plants and rocks that occur in the poem (as well as the human element) –of which there are quite a few. (In fact, only the aside on the Greek’s idea of happiness seems to depart in an extended way from the natural world.)

One observation to make about this list is that the poem for the most part segregates the items of these categories: you don’t see many mentions of plants among mentions of animals, but rather you find here a passage with a focus on plants and here a passage with a focus on minerals. (Yet that can’t be said without qualification: the bear’s dens are “concealed in a confusion” of minerals, the spotted ponies are “hard to discern” among plants, the eagles are “perched upon” lava and pummice.)

Plants, Animals, Minerals

(Kind of interesting: periwinkles and anemones can be considered either terrestrial plants or oceanic animals, which dual meaning fits very well with the context they occur in — though periwinkles, the flower, appear not to be native to the U.S.)

Animals: Octopus [x2], periwinkles, python, spider, anemone, bear (X2), elk, deer, wolf, goat (x2), duck, porcupine, rat, beaver, ant, antelope, nine-striped chimpmunk, water ouzel, white-tailed ptarmigan, eagle, snail, marmot (X2), pony-horse.

Plants: cyclamen, periwinkles, Anemone, Fir (X2), Larch, Spruce, Cypress, heather (x2), berry-bushes, forest (x3), alpine buckwheat, grass, flowers (x3), birch, fern, lily pad, avalanche lily, indian paint brushes, bear’s ears, kittentails, fungi, moss, rhododendron, leaves, unspecified trees (x3), rice, prunes, dates, raisins, tomatoes, twigs, bark, vines, branches (x2).

Rock, mineral, metal: [onyx] (x2), Manganese, iron, gold, silver, calcium, alabaster, topaz, tourmaline, amethyst, marble, jasper, agate, lava, pummice, chimney pot, cleaver, moraine, Moonstone.

Human element: “those who lived in hotels, but now live in the camps –who prefer to”, mountain guides evolved from trappers, businessmen (instructing ponies), The Greeks (x2), ‘those alive to the advantages of invigorating pleasures’, “odd oracles of cool official sarcasm” [really refers to signs not persons], Henry James.

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