DEATH OVER WATER: 449-04
In Elizabeth Rhett Woods’ “Death Over Water” the metaphor of the ice dancers is used most effectively to convey imagery and to express the relationship between hunter and prey. Ice dancing brings to mind the smooth graceful curves and electrifying jumps and spins of a sport that is intricately choreographed. The metaphor relates to us the gentle beauty of the hunt observed by the narrator. She equates the eagle to “the male of a pair of ice dancers/spreading his dark arms above/his partner’ every move.” This imbues on the eagle a sense of superiority. In ice dancing, the male is traditionally the lead. He is in control of the program and initiates the rehearsed moves of the couple. The male can lift and throw his female partner. This dominance is similar to the relationship of the eagle and the gull. The gull is followed everywhere by the eagle, who is in control of the chase. The eagle is leading this “death duo” in their improvised dance across the bay. The narrator remarks that the “eagle shadows the gull, drives it / bleating over the bay.” The bay where the hunt takes place is their arena, and they are watched by a murder of crows who serve as anxious spectators. Through this metaphor of two ice dancers, we perceive imagery that is both graceful and savage, and can interpret the relationship of hunter and prey in new ways.