- Free Essays, Term Papers & Book Notes

The Poem “singapore" by Mary Oliver

Page 1 of 3

The theme of work in the poem “Singapore" by Mary Oliver

 The human body is a very complicated machine which was created by God himself. The body is capable of doing all sorts of things, but there are some things the body does with perfection. The perfection comes from continued practice, passion, love the desire, honesty and the responsibility that an individual shows toward a specific thing. Let me replace the word "thing" with the term ‘work." This paper will focus on the theme of work from the poet Mary Oliver, "Singapore" which the author has used to show how people have the passion for their work.  

The poem begins with the poet narrating the life of a woman who was cleaning the dirty restroom at the airport. The author finds the work the woman is doing visually and physically dirty. But while the woman was doing the cleaning, she seems in her world.  The poet sees the hands of the woman working in love while admiring at the scenes of the river. She has realized the reality of life that she must work to earn herself and her family living. From the poem, the speaker who is a tourist seems to be leaving Singapore as she notices the woman washing the restrooms (Poon). From her view of things, we can describe the persona as being a close-minded woman from her using the words "washing the tops of the airport ashtrays (L19)." She seems disgusted with the woman's work but her perspective changes when the woman smiles back at her.

 The tourist woman is humbled, and she realizes that this work might seem menial and does not suit her, but to the woman, the job means the world to her, "Everybody needs a job." (L. 15). To the woman who was cleaning the restroom, being in Singapore, her work meant everything, while working in Singapore as a woman, there was a perfect opportunity for her to raise from the harsh life women life and make her hopeful, "rise from the crust." (l.25) this might not be the case, but the woman has the hope of a better tomorrow.

Download as (for upgraded members)
Citation Generator

(2019, 02). The Poem “singapore" by Mary Oliver. Retrieved 02, 2019, from

"The Poem “singapore" by Mary Oliver" 02 2019. 2019. 02 2019 <>.

"The Poem “singapore" by Mary Oliver.", 02 2019. Web. 02 2019. <>.

"The Poem “singapore" by Mary Oliver." 02, 2019. Accessed 02, 2019.