It is dusk, and cold. I kneel to pick
frail melancholy flowers among
ashes and loam. The melting west
is striped like ice-cream. While I try
whistling a trill, close by his nest
our blackbird frets and strops his beak
indifferent to Scarlatti’s song.
Ambiguous light. Ambiguous sky
Towards nightfall waking from the fearful
half-sleep of a hot afternoon
at our first house, in Mitchelton,
I ran to find my mother, calling
for breakfast. Laughing, “It will soon
be night, you goose,” her long hair falling
down to her waist, she dried my tearful
face as I sobbed, “Where’s morning gone?”
and carried me downstairs to see
spring violets in their loamy bed.
Hungry and cross, I would not hold
their sweetness, or be comforted,
even when my father, whistling, came
from work, but used my tears to scold
the thing I could not grasp or name
that, while I slept, had stolen from me
those hours of unreturning light.
Into my father’s house we went,
young parents and their restless child,
to light the lamp and the wood stove
while dusk surrendered pink and white
to blurring darkness. Reconciled,
I took my supper and was sent
to innocent sleep.
Years cannot move
nor death’s disorienting scale
distort those lamplit presences:
a child with milk and story-book; my father, bending to inhale
the gathered flowers, with tenderness stroking my mother’s goldbrown hair. Stone-curlews call from Kedron Brook. Faint scent of violets drifts in the air
How has Gwen Harwood used her poem ‘The Violets’ in metaphorical terms? Explain.
‘The Violets’ by Gwen Harwood, illustrates a number of metaphors outlined between the differences of childhood and becoming an adult. Such metaphors counted are used within the context of the Violet flower, this being placed for beginning the further made metaphors about a child’s loss as they grow,...