Andrew Young's poem Field-Glasses is about what happens to the poet when he looks at a scene through a pair of field-glasses, which is another name for binoculars. This is an instrument which you look through in order to be able to see things that are far away. You can immediately see how poets like to play with words on different levels. On one level, the poet is looking through an instrument called field-glasses. On another, he is literally looking at a field in the countryside through a pair of glasses. This kind of wordplay makes the poem interesting and also gives it a sense of depth. A poem is all about trying to see things in a new way. This is also exactly the effect of looking through field-glasses. They magnify the view and so things that are far away seem much nearer. They make those things seem much bigger, and they also frame the view. Your eyes are pressed up against the glasses, so you can see the view through the glasses but nothing outside of that view. If you move the glasses, then you get the sensation that the whole scene moves too. So in writing about the view through the field-glasses, the poet is also writing about how your viewpoint changes in the process of writing a poem. Writing enables you to see things more closely. It focuses your attention on a scene in just the same way that a pair of field-glasses focuses your attention on the view that you are looking at. What does Young see through his field-glasses? The scene is in early spring. The ground is still frozen after winter: 'And frozen ground has set the flints As fast as frozen stones' The buds 'still speak in hints', meaning that there are just a few initial signs of buds on the trees although they have yet to come into full leaf. Looking through the field-glasses has the effect of accelerating the onset of the seasons. It is like looking through a magnifying glass so that everything seems enlarged: 'And stones double their size, Drawn nearer through field-glasses greater eyes' A good poet shows you the world in a new way. He helps you to see the world in ways that you have not seen before. The field-glasses achieve this effect for Young, and he has written this poem to achieve the same effect for us through words. He talks of the things that he brings close through this process: small birds such as tits and finches. He also talks of framing the scene in the glasses, rather like a work of art: 'And the rooks do not rage Caught for a moment in my crystal cage.' Notice the alliteration here. This means that the first letter of some of the words is repeated. The letter 'c' is repeated in caught, crystal, cage. This repetition makes it seem as if the words are standing still, just as the scene is standing still in the frame of the glasses. This effect of standing still is also achieved through the rhyme scheme. You will have noticed that the lines rhyme in pairs. This also has the effect of freezing pairs of lines, of making them seem as if they are standing still. The penultimate (last-but-one) stanza plays with the idea of the poet moving the field-glasses: 'I lift a field itself As lightly as I might lift a shelf' Of course, the poet does not literally lift up the field. He sees the field, the view, through his glasses. By moving the glasses, it seems as if the view itself is in turn lifting and tilting. If you were able to literally lift up a field, then imagine the noise that all the birds would make! Here the birds are the big, black crows, or rooks. They 'do not rage' because they are unaware of anything moving at all. The final stanza reminds us that the natural landscape is very special, and that it is a privilege for a man to be able to observe it at such close quarters: 'I feel so privileged My shoulders prick, as though they were half-fledged' Something which is 'half-fledged' is only half-grown. The poet here captures his humility. He has seen the wonders of nature at such close magnification that he feels only half-grown and small in comparison. He is aware that nature is considerably grander and more special than a small man. I hope you have shared his sense of wonder as well.