Analysis of Cilla Mcqueen's Poem "Otherwise"

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Otherwise

Cilla McQueen's poem Otherwise ponders over the distance, both physical and metaphorical; and the differences that that distance creates in the lives of two people: the speaker and her friend on the other side of the Pacific. The speaker day dreams about what would happen if they were together, then ends on the bittersweet note that despite the distance between them, they still neighbour the same ocean.

The first stanzas shows the distance between the two people. The speaker states she comes from an "opposite country", meaning they are as fundamentally different as possible. The speaker illustrates this by showing that simple things that one does not often think about, such as the direction spirals, the changing of the moon and even constellations, are different in her part of the world. This comparison could be seen in another light; that even such things that are as immovable and universal as the celestial bodies are changed by the sheer distance between the two people.

The rest of the first stanza shows some of the differences the two people have in their personalities. The speaker spends her time outdoors and in nature, where as the person addressed lives a city. The speaker is not familiar, or perhaps not interested, in the other person's way of living; she simply summarises it as watching "traffic or television", but then goes on to describe minute details of her own time spent simply watching the tides, possibly because she finds them a great deal more interesting. The line "absently fingering rocks..." could be interperated to mean the tide is doing the action, or that she is watching the tide whilst also "absently fingering rocks". This emphasises the relaxed nature of her life in two ways. If the sentence is thought of in the second way described, it would show that she is so care-free she spends hours simply picking at shells and rocks. If thought of in the first way, it shows that in her part of the world even the ocean, which is...
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