Harwood’s poetry is a limited value for a modern reader.

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Harwood’s poetry has more than “limited value” for a modern reader. Gwen Harwood’s poetry explores universal themes and concerns, such as time, memory, dreams, the nature of existence and music. Her poetry offers a modern reader the opportunity to explore the possibility of different interpretations of “The Glass Jar”, “Alter Ego” and “The Violets”. “The Violets” is a poem in which violets are a visual motif representing recollections of the poet’s childhood in which the violets trigger a shift in time and place (indicated by a typographical indentation), a shift between adulthood and childhood. The speaker kneels to pick violets at dusk; she recalls a childhood experience which also featured these flowers. We are then taken back to the poet’s childhood with the child (being the poet) woken up from an afternoon sleep. The child assumes it is morning, and feels cheated of “the thing I could not grasp or name that, while I slept, had stolen from me”, only to discover it is almost night. The child’s parents attempt to comfort her with the sight and scent of the “spring violets”, and in the right circumstances these flowers are able to summon back comforting memories. The poem is symbolic of a safe and happy childhood, in which “years cannot move”. The themes in “The Violets” reflect aspects of human experience such as time, memory and emotion. In “The Violets” time is a reflection of time passing with regards to the human experience. The shift in the line placement from the 1st stanza to the 2nd stanza shows a jump to past memories. There is acceptance that the past is to be valued and that it cannot ever be lived again. Memory shows the retrieval of the past in this poem, and it creates awareness of mortality in an attempt to defeat the tyranny of time and knowledge of death. “The Violets” show a melancholy mood which holds emotion and memory in the conscious

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