In the poem ‘Continuum’ by Allen Curnow, he tells us about his lack of inspiration. The theme of the poem revolves around poetic inspiration, and how he is unable to get inspiration. Allen Curnow uses a variety of stylistic devices to portray this.
The title, “Continuum”, shows us that the problem Allen Curnow talks about, his lack of inspiration, is never ending and is continuing all the time, i.e., it is continuous. The first stanza signifies the first stage of poetic inspiration and also shows us Curnow’s unstable thoughts; “the roof falls behind”, as he is unable to compose poetry he is in a sense, rolling and falling all over the place so to speak. In the first line, the word “moon” is used as an image: a symbol for Curnow. As the moon is unable to shine on its own (it has to draw its light and energy from the sun), just like that Curnow depends on his writing to keep him going in life. The first stanza also tells the reader about the setting and time of the poem which is at night. The moon also evokes images of loneliness and a solitary state in that it is the only bright object in the night sky just like Curnow is the only (and therefore lonely) person awake at night. The poem has no definite rhyme scheme, suggesting to us that the poet is finding it difficult to express his thoughts, and he cannot tap into the world of imagination. The last line of the first stanza; “I am talking about myself.” Is a clear statement of his frustration and his inability to write.
In the next stanza, Curnow is seeking connection with nature to find poetic inspiration. The line, “It’s not possible to get off to sleep”, tells the reader that the poet is unable to sleep which shows that something is troubling him. He tries to convey that it’s as tough to get rid of his thoughts as it is to get rid off the planet. Curnow goes out “barefoot”, to rid himself of the human material and wants to connect