Childhood Memories In Gwen Harwood's Poetry

736 Words3 Pages
The poetry of Gwen Harwood deals with themes which reflect universal problems such as human existence, loss of innocence, unavoidable death as well as time, youth and age. Her poetry evokes the modern reader to take the opportunity and explore the different interpretations for the relentless movement of time, where she reflects on her childhood memories. The poem ‘The Violets’ and ‘Father and Child’ allow Harwood to recollect positive and negative incidents in her childhood, where she celebrates the power of memory to give life to the past. ‘The Violets’ reflect aspects of childhood and memory, which are idealised. It encompasses the growth of the persona from innocence to experience, where the child’s loss and change are evident. The prosaic simile of ‘like ice-cream’ and the ‘melting west’ give an image of…show more content…
The last stanza reaffirms the strong bonds of family love. The line ‘Faint scent of violets drifts in air’ recalls the past and enriches the present where the persona is going through hardships in life. As she has looked back to the childhood memories for sustenance and support, it shapes her life and allows her to gain strength from comforting memories. The idea that the past is irreclaimable and neither death nor time can distort the memory of the moment is evident. “Father and Child” is essentially concerned with the loss of innocence through a negative experience, which allows the persona to grow. Harwood juxtaposes the youthful persona’s potential for both good, ‘obedient, angel minded’ and evil, ‘horny fiend’ in an attempt to foreshadow the possible carnage. As the child shoots the bird but realises it is alive after one shot, the persona’s confidence level drops as the poet juxtaposes the imagined world with one of harsh reality. The child’s innocence is impacted when the father sternly says ‘end what you have

More about Childhood Memories In Gwen Harwood's Poetry

Open Document