Analysis Of Gwen Harwood 's Poem, At Mornington

979 Words Aug 3rd, 2015 4 Pages
Throughout Gwen Harwood’s "Selected Poems", Harwood continually seeks to examine the many different faces of human nature, which have been heavily influenced by her experiences as a child, a woman and in the moments prior to her death. Her poems explore and reveal the power of reminiscence and memories, rebellion against authority, as well as the idea of mortality, which are illustrated by many of Harwood’s different personas.

In some of Harwood’s poems, the persona demonstrates that memory can be used as a powerful conduit into the past and such a pilgrimage is one of the many faces of human experience. In Harwood’s poem “At Mornington” the persona is Harwood herself and the poem begins softly with an account of Harwood’s first encounter with the sea. Her memories are triggered by a reunion with an old friend which suggests that her tone of voice throughout the passage is reflective and contemplative. The repetition of the waves and water symbolises the passing of time and the flow of memories, which link the past with the present. The persona of the poem initially believes that she can “walk on water” and that “it was only a matter of balance”; signifying the naive belief that she is capable of such defiance of natural law. This is later juxtaposed with the child who witnesses the pumpkins growing “in [an] airy defiance of nature” and describes it as being a “parable of myself”. Harwood uses these juxtapositions to symbolically convey that although she is unable to…
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