The second thing to note is the painterly naivety of the speaker's percep-tion of the scene. The ferry goes "up" the harbour, rather than "away". The intellect, with its knowledge of what the ferry is actually doing, does not mediate what the senses say the ferry is appearing to do…We have been persuaded, temporarily to view the world as though we were naifs, with the result that we have had reawakened a childlike sense of the numinous individuality of things and the artless simplicity with which language ap-pears to be able to evoke them….The art in Gray's best poetry lies in per-suading us that naivety need be neither a means of evading subject's com-plexity, nor a mask behind which it is being manipulated toward some in-tellectual purpose. Rather, it is one means of enhancing perception, one means of achieving candour.Simile is Gray's most characteristic descriptive instrument…From his us-ing simile so often and so powerfully, we gain the sense in Gray's poems of a world of unlimited correspondences between things….simile is…an instrument for unifying the diversity of phenomena, for establishing, not only the lines of connection between things, but the idea of the entire unitythat these connections create.
Though Gray is a descriptive and quietist poet rather than a dramatic or in-terpretive one, and mostly confines himself to description, description doesnot confine his understanding. Behind many poems - "Late Ferry", "Flames and Dangling Wire", "The Sea-shell", for example - the scrupu-lous accumulation of the visual evidence points to a vision of the way all objects and moments integrate with one another in a Creation that is both marvelous and innocent.This poem is probably the easiest to picture the events of the poetic narrative for students. The poem tells the story of a ferry leaving a North Shore jetty on a windy night and its arrival at Circular Quay. Gray uses graphic imagery to create the journey of the Ferry crossing the harbour. Gray contrasts the yachts safety anchored and secure in the tomato stake rows, while the late ferry must venture into the night and dark harbour. As the ferry begins to travel throughout the night the power light be-comes an active symbolic elements throughout the poem. Light is used to find a way through the darkness but in regards to the imagery of the cities it is linked with 'chromosomes' which convey a sense of movement, density and new life. Life is a powerful force portraying the physical discovery of one's way out of the turmoil of lostness, but also the personal discovery of new life. Flames and Dangling Wire'Flames and Dangling Wire' is an exceptional achievement. Few poets could have taken such an unpromising setting and drawn from it a con-nected sequence of ideas which takes in the theory of evolution, aspects of theology, nineteenth century painting, and ideas about the future, before re-turning to the poignantly realised scene, somewhere in an unnamed per-son’s past, which the final stanza sketches with deft economy. Yet in