Poems can have many different meanings. A poem can be taken literally. It can also be taken figuratively. These two different methods are incredibly different from each other.
In Bryant's poem, he writes about death and becoming one with the world. From a literal perspective, one will see that Bryant believes that humans die and are buried. When this happens, they become one with nature. It does not matter what your social or monetary status on Earth while you were alive had been; every single person winds up with the same fate. When a person is dead and buried, they are mixed in with the soil and eventually become "one" with the Earth. Therefore, all the nature we see around us today are the remains of those people who have lived before us. I think that this is kind of a beautiful perspective; however, it is also kind of creepy. I think it is definitely an interesting way to look at things. Literally, Bryant writes that we will all become a part of nature one day and live on together forever through its beauty.
This poem can also be taken figuratively. Although it says pretty plain and simple that everyone will be immortal though nature, one might take it even further. When understanding something figuratively, the reader must take the information that is given to them and infer things from it. When I read Bryant's poem, I thought that he meant that since everyone will wind up in the same place anyway, do not spend time worrying about everything around you. Do not waste time trying to be better than someone else, but instead enjoy the life that you are given and make the most out of it while you still can. I also think that, figuratively, the poem is saying not to fear death. While it portrays it as a cold, sad, lonely thing, the poem also talks about how you will never be alone, and you will become of a beauty that people for years to come will enjoy.
There are many poetic devices in this poem. Overall, I think Bryant uses a lot of imagery. He describes the trees and the nature very vividly, which gives the reader a deeper insight and a better image of what he is trying to portray. He also uses metaphors, which I think adds to the overall scheme of the poem; it makes it more interesting and captivating.
I actually enjoyed this poem. I think both the literal and figurative meanings of the poem were insightful and strangely beautiful. It made me think, which I think means that the author did his job well.