Summary: The author writes about his inability to sleep due to his inability to come up with material to write about (most likely a poem, could be another form of text). He therefore gets up in the dead of night when everyone is asleep and experiences a surreal world as his reality and dreams blend together in one beautiful work of poetry. It is ironic however, that when he finds nothing to write about, he writes about his inability to write.
Significant poetic devices and their significance (eg: Metaphors, symbols, rhyme scheme, form, imagery, repetition… etc)
Structure based analysis
1. No rhyme scheme. This is used to indicate a sense of disorganization in the writer’s thoughts and the way he puts it into words in the form of the poem. It also shows how his confusion affects his interpretation of the world at night as something surreal.
2. Three lines per paragraph. This demonstrates the author’s short minded-thinking and his inability to study any particular concept in depth. Note how he ends off the paragraph mid-sentence. This is used as enjambment to display the same thing, that he is unable to upkeep a coherent train of thought. The structure of the poem is also disorganized, with little patterns to it, elucidating the fact that the writer has spent little time redrafting his work concerning the poem.
Signs of literary awareness
1. “The moon rolls over the roof and falls behind my house”. This is a form of imagery at the start of the poem to create surrealism as the moon obviously cannot do such a thing. The words that follow “the moon does neither of these things” indicate that the writer is aware that he is half asleep, and that he is desperately trying to break out of this rut.
2. The Moon is cleverly used as a symbol for loneliness as there are no other objects in the sky mentioned in the poem. Furthermore it is usually the brightest thing we see in the sky in the dark of night, creating the image of the writer also being alone at night.
3. Alliteration in “better barefoot”. The word “better” has the tendency to be read quickly by readers, as it was designed to do. This is used by the author to create the image of the speaker in the poem to try and jolt himself out of his surreal world to try and get himself into reality where he can finally have a focused mind to try and create any ideas to work on. Furthermore the fact that he wants to “Better barefoot out the front” demonstrates the fact that he wishes to throw himself out in the open and force himself into a more awake state of mind as he tried to make his body realize the dangers of the outside world without any protective apparel.
4. There is the use of slow vowels, especially in the word “moon” which is used 3 times. This creates a slow-paced speed for reading to exemplify the writer’s muddled thinking and slow evaluation of the world around him.
5. The last stanza can portray both the failure and a sudden success of the speaker of the poem. Note that at the last stanza, the ‘author’ part of him becomes another person, thus the lines “on the author” at the beginning of the last stanza. This author part of him “picks up his litter and his tools and paces me (him) back to bed, stealthily in step.”
a. This could be a sign of his failure as a poet or author to be able to create good material as the author side of him picks up his litter and tools, perhaps a sign of him giving up if the author entity wishes to dispose of it or return it to the shelf (or wherever he keeps his tools). The fact that he puts the person back to bed stealthily in step creates an image of the author being ashamed of being unable to produce any good material.
b. On the other hand, it could be a sign of success or a potential brainwave on the author’s part as he could be picking up his litter to review his drafts again and picking up his tools to use. The fact that he wants to put the person back to bed stealthily in step indicates that the author would not want to make a big news out of it, and perhaps surprise his counterpart in the future, if he manages to create a piece of course. If not, it would forever stay hidden that he had a glimpse of hope in the first place.
Speaker of the poem: The writer himself. Allen Curnow
Speaker’s attitude toward the subject of the poem: Dissatisfied, unhappy, annoyed, confused, isolated, alone, discombobulated, detached.
Paired poems (Identify poems in the anthology and why they are appropriate to be paired)
1. The Woodspurge because they both address the concept of being detached as The Woodspurge is written in the past tense, where you cannot change anything and where you are looking back on the past as a third person.
2. The Woodspurge to be able to look at the contrast in organisation in the form of the poem. As you can see, The Woodspurge is written with a clear rhyme scheme, clear paragraphing and overall very organized in the imagery conveyed, the direct opposite of what is happening in the Continuum.
3. The Woodspurge as they both convey a surreal image as The Woodspurge tends to deal with peculiar weather patterns. The winds suddenly die and start again, as well as a sense of fading within reality and the world of dreams as the character within The Woodspurge sleeps and arises in the dead of night.
Memorable lines (that reinforce poetic devices)
1. “The moon rolls over the roof and falls behind my house, and the moon does neither of these things, I am talking about myself.”
2. “Better barefoot it out the front”
3. “It is not possible to get off to sleep or the subject or the planet, nor to think thoughts”. This shows surrealism as he mentions trying to get off the planet. This is due to his lack of coherent thinking, such the lines “nor to think thoughts”
4. “Bright clouds dusted (query) by the moon, one’s mine the other’s an adversary which may depend on the wind, or something.”