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By: David Orne

The Day the Bulldozers


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The first stanza describes what was
happening in a forest or countryside on
the day the bulldozers came.
Rooks, similar to crows, were building
up their nests in the oak tree. Green
flies buzzed by the pond while a toad
was waiting for a chance to catch
This reflects stage in the cycle of life
reproduction, feeding and death. This
routine was interrupted by the arrival of the


The five lines of

stanza 2 continue
with a description of
squirrels running up
trees and jumping
from the branches.
The word
scattering shows
that the squirrels
were running in all

There is a sense of
fear and panic as
the bulldozers
came closer. The
tree branches
were hardly
there possibly
because they had
been cut of. The
branches are usually
cut before the trees
are felled.

The third verse
tell us that the
fox, sleeping in
its den, was
woken up by
the shaking of
the ground as
the bulldozers

The fox,
however, was
not worried. He
felt safe in his
hole deep

The last begins

with then
which indicates
that the fox
was actually
not safe from
the bulldozers




The setting of the poem is the

countryside or a forest. There
are trees (oaks), a pond and
underground dens. This is the
natural environment where
animals, birds and insects
live. The creatures mentioned
in the poem rocks, squirrels
and foxes indicate that the
setting is in a western country


The poem describes the

arrival of bulldozers in the
countryside. Bulldozers were
invented in the early 20th
century. These powerful
machines are used to clear
forests for development.
Therefore, the poem is set in

The persona of this poem is the third person
omniscient narrator. The narrator describes
what can be observed, such as the birds
building their nest (line 2 -3) and what
cannot be seen, such as the fox in its
underground den. The narrator is omniscient,
for he even knows what the fox was thinking
(line 15 -18)


Deforestation and habitat


Bulldozers are used for logging or to

clear land for agriculture and housing.
Deforestation destroys the natural habitat
of native wildlife. The poem describes
how the bulldozers were going to
destroy the natural habitat.


The efect of modern

development on the

The poem describes the natural world and

provides details on what the creatures
were doing before the machines arrived
to destroy their world. The birds were
preparing nests to lay their eggs, the toad was
waiting for its meal, the squirrels were
scampering around as they always do and the
fox was sleeping underground. Later, trees
would be bulldozed away. There would be
broken nests, the animals homes would
be destroyed and the creatures would
have nowhere to hide. Such is the


Machines versus nature

The bulldozers are
powerful machines.
Nature is helpless
against these
machines. The
creatures were
unaware of the
destruction coming
their way. For
example, the fox
thought he was safe
underground but then


The poem shows us the cycle of life in

the natural world. Birds were preparing to
lay their eggs. The flies were buzzing
around happily while the toad waited for the
chance to get his dinner. This is the natural
cycle of birth, growth and death that keeps
the balance of nature. This natural cycle
was destroyed when the bulldozers
arrived to clear the trees.
By showing us the beauty and
balance of the natural world, the
poet makes us feel a sense of
horror at its destruction. The
poet wants us to think about
the efect of development on

Think about the

effect of
development on


The poem describes the natural wildlife in

the countryside and how the arrival of the
bulldozers would destroy the trees and
natural habitat. The creatures would not
survive. The poet is telling us to
preserve the forest and the natural
habitat of the creatures so that they
can live.

Preserve the forest

and protect the


Love for nature

The description of the
creatures living in the wild
and the poets message to
protect their habitat supports
this moral value.


Respect for life

The poem portrays nature as
being full of life and activity
with the creatures living out
their life cycle in peace.
Then, the bulldozers came,
bringing death and
destruction. The poem
makes us aware that
living things are being
killed because of

Tone: lighthearted then

foreboding The tone of the poem is

lighthearted at first. The use of the

expression crazy eggs baskets
refers to something fun. However,
the tone turns serious and
foreboding from the end of the first
stanza. The cold-eyed toad
waiting to catch a fly refers to
the cycle of life which involves
feeding and dying. However this
reference to a predator and death is a
foreshadowing of the death and
destruction that was coming.

The second stanza continues on this

note of foreboding for the
squirrels were scattering up
the trees (line 8), and leaping
of branches (line 10), as if they

Mood: dark and fearful

The mood is dark and fearful.

The third stanza strengthens
the sense of doom. The earth
trembled (line 14) which
reflects fear. The fox thinks it
is safe underground but the
last line beginning with then
tells us that it is not true.

Language and Style

The poem has three stanzas of diferent
There are 19 lines altogether.
The poem is written in free verse and has
no rhyming pattern.
The poem sounds like natural speech or
narration. Direct speech is used as in
storytelling (lines 15 and 16)
There is a vague rhythm due to the
repetition of the line the bulldozers came
(lines 1, 7 and 19)

The first line of the poem is repeated
in the first line of stanza 2 and also
partially in the last line of the third
The repeated lines act like a reminder
of the important event and help
build suspense.

The poem is rich in visual and
movement imagery. Descriptive words
like crazy, green, sizzled and
cold-eyed are used in the first verse to
provide a clear picture of the
creatures in their natural habitat.
No descriptive words are used in the
following two verses. This creates a
sense of urgency as the bulldozers
Movement imagery in the poem is used
to depict life and activity in the
countryside. Action words like
building, sizzled, scattering and
leapt are used for movement

The toad waiting to
attack and devour the
flies foreshadows the
fate of the creatures.
The toad is cold-eyed
meaning unfeeling, just
like the machines that
came to destroy the
trees and the wildlife
living among them.

In line 14, the ground
trembled. This refers to the
physical shaking of the
earth as the big and heavy
bulldozers approach.
This is also a metaphor for
fear. Nature shakes with fear
as the machines arrive.
In lines 15 to 18, the fox
thinks like a human.

The bulldozers
They are also a
symbol of
destruction and
violence resulting
from human
disregard for

Compiled by:
Miz Malinz