Judith Wright: 'Train Journey' and 'Flame Tree in a Quarry'

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Judith Wright’s poems ‘Train Journey’ and ‘Flame tree in a Quarry’ both achieve a balance between language and the imagination of concepts with her use of themes and techniques.

In both poems, Wright creates a sense of life in the landscapes and adds beauty to it, which heightens its importance. The poems also highlight the power and destruction of the environment.

In the poem ‘Train Journey’, the themes of Australian landscape and environment are portrayed with the use of personification and apostrophe to instil a sense of life in the landscape. This is displayed throughout the poem, where observations of Australian landscapes are seen from the position of the train. In the first stanza, the personification “out of the confused hammering dark of the train” highlights her difficulty of staying awake, proving that the majority of the poem is a dream.

The simile “...like poetry moved, articulate and sharp” gives a sense of rhythm to the poem and creates a vivid image. The line “till the unloving come to life in you” brings life to things that don’t have a sense of life in them. With Wright’s use of imagination, she adds a sense of life into the environment. This is seen with the personification “be over the blind rock a skin of sense”, which adds life to the rocks.

In the final stanza, the metaphor “I woke and saw the dark small trees that burn suddenly into flowers more lovely than the white moon”, creates a vivid image of positivity. In this stanza, the way that the environment is addressed is also changed.

However, in ‘Flame tree in a Quarry’, the personification “stripped and left for dead” is a reference to death, showing the murder of the environment. From this, we know that the poet is drawing inspiration from destruction by using references to death and life. This is also seen by the personification “leaps out this bush of blood”, where the word ‘blood’ is used metaphorically as life.

The metaphors “I drink you with my sight” and “I am...
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