Structuring of repeated infinitive verbs of "to stub" "to have"
captures the readers attention, makes us wonder what is happening, adds tension - sense of immediacy
Word choice of "rock"
suggests the hardness and immovability of the object he has struck, therefore it must be of great mass, which is surprising considering his tranquil environment
Word choice/onomatopoeia of "stub"
suggests sudden and unexpected contact, portraying the poet's shock
Onomatopoeia of "slounge"
suggests the slow and relaxed movement of the shark coming out of the water - thought to be an amalgamation of the word "lounge" and "slouch"
Word choice of "thing"
implies he cannot identify the experience, substantiating that he is scared
Parenthesis of "(too often)"
he does not want to repeat the experience
Word choice of "where none should be"
suggests idea of out of the ordinary
Word choice of "to have it rise"
shows disbelief at what is happening - a rock being inanimate shouldn't be doing this
Positioning of the word "But"
suggests a change in the speaker's thinking
Word choice of "not too often"
encounter wasn't too upsetting but doesn't want to repeat it
Word choice of "I count as gain"
implies something beneficial and positive about the experience
Metaphor "a sea tin-tacked with rain"
gives a mental picture of each raindrop
Alliteration of "tin-tacked"
captures the sound of the rain hitting the calm sea
Metaphor of "room sized monster" and "matchbox brain"
we associate rooms with being very large and matchboxes being very small so this comparison shows the relative diminutive capacity of the shark
The use of the metaphor "he displaced more than water"
this is both literal since the shark shifts a vast volume of water and metaphorical since it suggests the shark's presence shifted the speaker's thinking
Word choice of "shoggled"
Scot's word meaning an unsteady and wobbly lurch in the speaker's thinking back to the origins of life
Metaphor "decadent townee"
the speaker suggests that, to their detriment townspeople have become dissociated from nature - their lives are self-indulgent and hedonistic (lives devoted to enjoyment)
implies that humanity is a long way away from "centuries back" when life was about survival
metaphor "shook on the wrong branch of his family tree"
literally and metaphorically disturbed by the experience
"shook on the wrong branch" suggests that humans have become so intellectually superior that they believe they are no longer related
onomatopoeic "swish"/metaphoric "swish up the dirt and, when it settles, a spring/is all the clearer"
While initially the dirt would muddy the water and make it dark, opaque, and impossible to see through, eventually, once settled, it would be clearer. Metaphorically it means the encounter with the shark stirs up his MIND causing confusion but once settled, it clarifies his thinking
metaphor "in one fling, emerging from the slime of nothing"
he realises in one leap that all life originated from a primordial soup - the shark and humans stem from the same original source
Enormous philosophical question of "so who's the monster?"
he reflects on the nature of human beings
contrast between "twenty seconds" and "centuries back"
realisation of who is the monster only takes him twenty seconds after being thrown back twenty centuries
assonance of "pale" "sail after sail" "tail"
captures the elegance and gracefulness of the shark as it moves away from the speaker
"and then tail after tail"
suggests the slowness of the shark's movement
Word choice of "met"
conveys an impression of fraternity since despite humankind's superiority to nature, MacCaig ignores this stigma
"The thought made me grow pale" word choice
suggests the physical shock MacCaig feels as he realises humanity's insignificance