A Spell to be cast prior to dying is a poem which tries to reinforce the idea that life was not given to us so that we are to fear death but to make the most of the time we have and to go out with a ‘bang’. Colquhoun uses the repetition of “Die” both to put the reader at a position where they are effectively being desensitized to death and also to convey that Colquhoun being a doctor deals with death every day and the unpleasantries that accompany it. This is shown by the statement “Die, go on, get the hell out of here, find your own way home.” How ever Colquhoun feels it is his duty as a doctor to set an example of a strong minded person, that Colquhoun seemed to show an emotional weakness when he said “..Die looking backwards as though you were some how desperate to get of the tracks before the train hit...” This showed that Colquhoun was looked up to by the family members of the deceased but he was unable to look up to another figure.
Colquhoun also uses the repetition of die to illustrate the different situations that people can die in. “die without anybody noticing it.” Is an example of a reclusive person and that would not want anyone else to bear witness to their unfortunate end. Colquhoun being a New Zealand poet falls under the category of a kiwi bloke who is traditionally subjected to the stereotype of being comfortable with death and just being able to accept it and move on. How ever Colquhoun showed how even he as a doctor can be caught off-guard by death “That’s all I want to say, go on, get the hell out of here, find your own way home.” The statement has hints at desperation in Colquhoun’s persona which shows that he is tired of having to deal with it in people’s stead.
Another of Colquhoun’s poems Mothers, love your sons urges not only mothers but fathers, brothers and sisters to love the people closest to them even in there misadventures. Colquhoun uses the obvious imperative of “love your sons” but more so his use of “Love you granite sons, your Crystal sons, your paper sons” to deepen his meaning and to make the imperative that much more effective. Colquhoun also emphasizes the importance of loving your sons by showing some of the bad decisions we as people make, ‘terrible haircuts’, ‘badly ironed clothes’ to show weakness and that we should love them for their triumph as well as their blundering mistakes.
Colquhoun cleverly used the statement “love you’re big, dumb sons, your idiot sons, you’re …. Sons” to show that sons generally boast ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ attitude and that gave special impetus to when he said, “You’re irresponsible sons and their indestructible limbs.” Colquhoun is effectively showing that the sons are unfit to care for themselves and it is the responsibility of a mother to be the responsible person who will wait up to 3am when the sons return from and eventful night gallivanting about unaware of the yelling their actions have brought about. Colquhoun being doctor usually sees the sons when they are in their worst shape.
Mothers, love your sons and A spell to be cast prior to dying, by Glen Colquhoun. He used metaphors and Imperitives to convey an important theme which is that living life, and careing for those close to you is more important than fearing death. And his position as a Medical professional and as a father added impetus to the techniques present in both poems.