Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry: Explained, THE DRAGONFLY, by LOUISE BOGAN

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

THE DRAGONFLY, by         Recitation by Author     Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"The Dragonfly" is a poem by Louise Bogan, an American poet and literary critic. The poem was first published in her collection of poems titled "The Blue Estuaries" in 1923. Bogan was known for her use of traditional forms and precise language, often exploring themes of love, loss, and the human condition.


"The Dragonfly" is a short and concise poem that presents a vivid image of a dragonfly. The poem begins with the speaker describing the dragonfly as a "slim blue body" that "sparkles with iridescent light." The speaker then goes on to describe the dragonfly's wings as "gossamer films" that are "irised with a myriad of colors."

As the poem progresses, the speaker notes how the dragonfly moves through the air with "poised and delicate ease." The dragonfly is described as a "thing of wonder" that "floats and dips, in a rhythm of motion." The poem ends with the speaker musing on the dragonfly's short life, noting that "it lives but a day."

Poetic Elements:

  • Form: The poem consists of four quatrains, with a rhyme scheme of ABAB.
  • Imagery: The poem is rich in sensory imagery, particularly visual imagery, as the speaker paints a vivid picture of the dragonfly and its movements.
  • Personification: The dragonfly is personified, as it is described as having "poised and delicate ease" and moving in a "rhythm of motion."
  • Tone: The tone of the poem is one of awe and wonder, as the speaker marvels at the beauty and delicacy of the dragonfly.


"The Dragonfly" is a beautiful and concise poem that captures the grace and wonder of this delicate insect. Bogan's precise language and use of imagery bring the dragonfly to life, and the poem's rhyme scheme adds to its musicality. The poem reminds us of the fleeting beauty of life and the importance of appreciating the wonders of the natural world.

Poem Snippet:

" A slim blue body

Of plated gauntlets,

A scarlet velvet cape,

A crested helm of gold."

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