The Violets

Topics: Poetry, Time, Memory Pages: 2 (807 words) Published: October 1, 2013
In your view, how have poetic techniques been used to reveal memorable ideas in Harwood’s poetry? Support your view with detailed reference to “The Violets”.

In my opinion, Gwen Harwood utilises her knowledge of poetic techniques in a Romantic Style to reveal memorable ideas in “The Violets”. Her ideas are about the inevitability of time and death, and explore the existential questioning of life, childhood and memory. With this she walks us through the passage from innocence to enlightenment that comes with age and time, and the importance of memory in this process. Each individual is able to connect to one of, or all of these ideas and experiences, thus her poetry resonates with the reader. Personally, the passage resonated with me, and brought a sense of nostalgia to childhood as it talked of the change from innocence and enlightenment which I feel the coming of adulthood is bound to present me with, and has already begun in my growth out of childhood. However, it also brought a sense of comfort that the memories which I carry are permanent through to adulthood. For me, one of the most memorable ideas present in Harwood’s poem ‘The Violets’ is the inevitability of time. Harwood explores the feelings associated with time moving on and the changes that these bring, including the imminence of death. The poem begins in the present, as an adult reflecting on the memories of her childhood. From the first stanza in her poem she provides an overall sense of the persona’s mood and emotions when reflecting on these memories, and the unavoidable change of time: “I kneel to pick frail melancholy flowers among ashes and loam.” Harwood employs funeral imagery in the use of ‘kneel’ and ‘ashes’ to reflect death and fragility. This is juxtaposed to loam as a symbol of life and growth highlighting the transience of childhood, and also the transience from life to death. Her mood is exemplified by the description of violets as ‘melancholy’ in response to the transience of...
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