Poetry: the Concept of Time

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Poems are written around a central idea or theme. ‘Frozen Charlotte’ by Natalie Merchant is a poem conveying the exploration of life through death. ‘Nurse’s Song’ by William Blake is two poems that talk about the loss of innocence through maturity. ‘Deeper Water’ by Paul Kelly/Randy Jacobs shows the cyclic nature of life. These three poems are clear specific examples of related poems that have the concept of time passing by.

‘Frozen Charlotte’ by Natalie Merchant is based on a true story where a young girl is frozen to death on her way home from a dance with her lover. Time passing by is seen through the journey of death of the girl. The poem does not directly imply that the girl has frozen to death, but at the beginning there are two similes that give a description of the girl. The similes “Blue like the winter snow in the full moon” and “Black like the silhouettes of the trees” immediately give us a negative image of the girl. The girl is the colour of blue when she is dead and “the winter snow in the full moon” gives us a sense of romance because she is with the person she loves. The black silhouettes of the trees clarify for the reader that she is dead and her soul has left her body.

This poem shows a journey of life when the girl has died and is going far away. This can be seen in the repetition of the lines “I’ll be gone, will you wait for me here (how long), I don’t know, but wait for me here (follow), Don’t follow me to where, where I go (faraway).” The cycle of life is also shown through the imagery of the natural world. “Still as the river grows in December, Silent and in perfect blinding ice, Spring keeps her promises.” The girl tells her lover to wait for her forever, through summer, autumn, winter and spring every year, no matter how long it takes and how far away she is. The structure of this poem is one prose, no separate stanzas or verses. Having only one stanza keeps the poem moving and continues the journey of life along with the use of...
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