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Michelle

Essential to any reading of Harwoods poetry is a heightened awareness of the


intimacies and intricacies of the human condition. Harwood chronicles a personal
acquiesce to the impermanence of time and the inevitability of decay, rendering
an unmistakeable appreciation of everyday life in the poems At Mornington,
Triste, Triste and The Violets. The poetic treatment of otherwise confronting
human realities enhances the communion between poet and audience in which
mutual feelings are shared. In doing so, Harwood presents a great spectrum of
emotions from anguish to joy, constituting what is perhaps a true transposition of
reality. Fundamentally Harwoods heightened sensibility of the ordinal offers a
conduit for the audience to reflect upon certain attributes of the humanity
present, which evades definition yet understood at an inherently psychological
level.
In At Mornington, Harwood remedies the fear and apprehensions common to
preconceptions of death with the evocation of memory that celebrates the
fallibility of humanity. The poem functions to enactment the desire to adopt the
vigour of childhood as succour to inevitable death identified through the hollow
pumpkin. The child articulated logic of walking on water demonstrated by the
repetition of the next wave, the next wave authenticates the childs voice and
juxtaposes with the simile of the doll among rattling shells. The potent imagery
connotes the lack of autonomy the persona associates with herself and
humanity, imposes a sense of reality to contend the bliss of the child as the adult
persona asserts herself. The tone transitions from introspective to conversational
in the second stanza, enhanced by the enjambment of memories as we stand,
too friends, in sharing an intimate epiphany of appreciating the human
condition. The persona recognises reflections of human resilience within nature
airy defiancea parable of myself elating the human condition to the vines
were rising, flourish the fruits animated images of growth, germination until
paradoxically reducing herself to bone and flesh in final shape connoting the
decay and finality that entails mortality. However the severity of the images are
soothed by the lethargic diction, inducing a sense of ease and willing resignation
as the memories transitions into the dream sequence, identified by the
indentation. The dream comes to reiterate the naturalness of death and redirect
the overarching theme of mortality to a focus on the possibility of life, sustained
by the metaphor of water spoken by the friend there is still some water left
over enough to sustain us. The promoted of the powers of friendship at your
side among the graves/ I think of death no more, is utilised as a consolatory
reprieve from the contemplations of life and death, as the empathetic sharing of
human experience demonstrates the possibility of alleviating the anxieties of
death.
In Triste, Triste, Harwood explores the often brutal divide from the idealised and
reality in the yearning for a sustained spiritual intensity, if only temporality
through sexual passion. The poem begins with a pervasive sense of entrapment
with the body objectified as a stone and connoting biblical allusions to
resurrection to communicate the metaphysical ideas. Further, the metonymy of
the corporal experience "eyes against shoulder keep, in conjunction with
images of prison and tomb of bone, renders an almost necessity to escape
the mundane and appealing for a desire to possess a connection to the spiritual
realm. The heart is instead personified as it mourns and cries to the spirit
walking above with the intentionally use of 'walk' to reveal the blurring of

Michelle
realities in which the persona transitions into the spiritual world designated by
divine qualities of unbearable light. Coinciding with the "spirit's light dispelled"
the persona is removed from the transcendent state to the present, suggesting
that the spiritual intensity is not indefinitely accommodating. The subsequent
sense of euphoria is quelled by the agony of the individual experience walking
alone, resonating detachment and a lacking sense of fulfilment that initiates a
search for other forms of mortal comfort. The poem highlights the limitations of
the mundane to sustain a sensory existence and implies that a substitute peace
may be sought in the paradise of sleep" of dream states or through holing the
loved other in seeking relationship. Despite the tone of resignation, the
personas experience prompts them of the ephemeral human condition, which is
communally shared as Harwood not so much as blends but negotiates between
the two worlds of the ideal and real to reach a harmonious state
Within The Violets Harwood intrinsically communicates and offer consonance to
the audience in an exploration of the mutability of time through an intimate
display of childhood memories. The distinct memory is reminisced vividly, given
that the adult persona is regressing into the past with the effective interplay of
light and darkness enacting the binary of innocence and enlightenment
ambiguous light, ambiguous sky. Harwood suggests that formative memories
endure, and only require the prompting of the sustained motif of violets- acting
as a conduit to the past and present "sent of violets in the air". The first stanza
is devoid of animation with symbols of death and fragility images of "frail
melancholy flowers among ashes and foam" that respectively symbolise death
and fragility until the persona enters the memory that resolves the stasis with
the energy of a distinctly juvenile world view striped like ice-cream. The child is
distraught by the passage of time through the rhetorical question Where did
morning go voicing an inherently human concern for the flux of life whilst
allowing the audience to recognise the greater austerity of the question for which
it represents. The childs dissatisfaction is reflected through the black bird frets
and strops his beak though the silence is again filled by the fathers whistled trill
and the mothers colloquial endearment you goose. The display of familial love
of the mother calls to mind the absence of such a consoling action in reality, and
hence encourages the audience to be comforted that years cannot move, nor
deaths disorientating scale distort these lamp-lit presences. Images of
domestically induces a genuine sense of security and serenity promoted by the
lyrical rhyming scheme that creates a space for which the audience can
envisage. Fittingly the poem ends in a mirage of memories as Harwood revels in
the blissfulness of childhood but at the same time, addresses the uncertainties
and anxieties of youth in some of the most impressionable years of life.
Harwoods poetry chronicles contain experiences of interrelated themes,
explorations of time and place that pertains to a greater unifying plot of human
maturation. Her lyrical meditations follow an unobtrusive rhyming scheme that
support the level of certainty and comfort drawn from the temporal that Harwood
wishes to bequeath the audience. Triste, Triste, At Mornington and The violets
contain complex human experiences and Harwoods tempered contemplations
allows the audience to recognise and share in otherwise intangible concepts that
may evade comprehension but are nonetheless understood at a deeper
psychological level. Furthermore, Harwoods poems become an allegorical
enactment of the multi-faceted human progress towards a more harmonious

Michelle
coexistence with supreme forces by seeking emotional solace within love,
companionship and memory.