The poetry of Judith Wright

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That every poem relates implicitly to a particular dramatic situation is a comment able to be accurately applied to the poetry of well-known Australian poet, Judith Wright. Whilst Wright's poetry covers many different themes relating to Australian society, it is clear that Wright, in many of her poems, makes clear reference to certain events. These are often, however, explored in different forms, be it a stage of life, an intense experience or a critical event. This is certainly true for two of Wright's well-known poems, 'The Dark Ones' and 'A document', each relating to two entirely different situations and issues, but nonetheless relating to an important factual event which has shaped the poet's opinion or a created event or situation which allows for the facilitation of expression of the issues to be discussed.

'The Dark Ones' relates clearly to a situation in the town which has obviously left a rather prominent imprint in Judith Wright's mind. The theme explored is one of a certain shock at the situation of there being such a division in society and the fact that the Aboriginal people are, in the poem, being treated as second-class citizens whom are a little like 'the pests' and certainly not like human beings. Wright's message, in the voice of the persona, is one of disgust that society thinks and behaves in this way, and points out the fact that change is required and that until it is made, life cannot go on.

The structure is rather incoherent, as refected by the different lines of thought expressed in each line, and creates a mood which is tense and rather awkward for both the Whites and Blacks, representing the fact that given the situation, they are unable to think properly and rationally. The persona makes clear the fact that the Anglo-Saxon population believes fully in their superiority and that they are being inconvenienced by having these 'savages' bombarding their town for the collection of their pension and shows the deep differences between the two cultures because even though they are on the 'other' side of the road, life cannot continue on with the knowledge of their presence. In many respects, one can relate this to Wright's passionate fight for Reconciliation which was, and the poem represents a case: that for as long as there is no reconciliation, the lives of Anglo-Saxons will continue to be disrupted.

Wright pays homage to numerous techniques which have the underlying goal to create a mood of disruption and dismay. The rhyming scheme is constant: for each four line stanza, with the first line rhyming with the third and the second with the fourth. The second stanza is constructed as two separate stanzas in rhyming scheme, often leaving the reader rather confused and unenlightened on the situation, strengthening Wright's message further of a society in utter dismay.

Word Choice is imperative to the representation of society. The title clearly represents the impersonalised attitude towards the 'other' people with the use of 'ones', and the fact that they aren't similar but are instead a different breed who are entirely dissimilar. 'Dark', likewise, can be interpreted on different levels. On a rather superficial reading, it is clear that it is a reference to the Aboriginal populations' dark skin. But by the same token, 'dark', in Anglo-Saxon society, brings a certain range of negative connotations of a rather secretive society which is unenlightened of the world, more specifically to the more prevalent set of Anglo-Saxon societal expectations and customs which have principally controlled Australian Society in the past 100 years.

Symbolism too plays an important role in expressing this message. The persona makes clear her belief that the Aboriginal people of Australia are looked upon by the Anglo-Saxon community negatively, alike a pest with "something leaks in our blood" in the first stanza, which can, depending on the reading, be interpreted a number of ways. Clear is the underlying...
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