Irving Layton, is a poet that wrote a piece called Go to the Ant. This entire poem was intentionally written in simplicity so that he could more effectively develop his idea and make it obvious to his audience that the idea at hand is conveyed as important. Through out this poem Layton is developing the idea that, occasionally people oversee their habitual practices, and ultimately don’t realize that every life form takes its own toll on the equilibrium of society.
Although this poem is literally about a human who notices an ant carrying a object, progresses to step on it and chooses not to. On a much more figurative level, we can infer that it is about an optimistic, white gentleman from an older generation; he is noticeably comfortable with possessing the ability to control situations. Layton made us aware of this when he metaphorically contrasted lines 9-10 “Fate in the form of my foot”. The speaker endures a slight change in character when he goes from observing this ant’s actions in the first 8 lines, to noticing what he is capable of doing in next 6, and then simply progresses to questioning his actions in the last of them.
In the first Stanza we are introduced to this tenacious and determined ant; carrying a large white object. I made notice of Layton’s strategic color choice for this object, seeing as later on in the poem he makes also makes a reference to the fact that the ant is black. This abundance of a black creature, aiding a dead, white one was blatantly unusual to this man possibly because he is from the time era when it was strange for there to be a present interaction between a black and white man. This character is open to the idea of change, but doesn’t necessarily understand it because as he says in the last two lines “I was too old to learn or perhaps didn’t care to know.”