“Self-Pity” is one of those poems for which a summary alone cannot possibly convey the full extent of the interpreted meaning to be plumbed. The facts are these: across the span of four short lines in one short stanza the speaker makes an observation that the reader is expected to apply to the concept of feeling sorry for the negative events and occurrences that have impacted their own lives.
The narrator asserts with a high degree of authority that he has not even once witnessed a wild animal of any kind demonstrate an exhibition of self-pity. Within such an assertion might be expected to be found a nearly endless, unlimited and infinite number of specific examples to be forwarded as evidence backing up the speaker’s contention. What is perhaps most fascinating about “Self-Pity” as well as what has allowed the poem to be opened up to a wide range of various interpretations is that the concluding two lines of the four-line poem focus exclusively on one example of how wild animals do not indulge in the type of emotional hand-wringing of pitying themselves that humans routinely fall victim to.
The speaker explicates his assertion through the curious illustration of how a small bird that falls from the bough of tree in an absolutely solidified state of lifelessness does so without having felt sorry for itself on even one occasion throughout its short life. Here is the point at which the writer concludes his poem and where the job of filling in the blanks of meaning by the reader begins.