The poem Continuum by Allen Curnow different themes are dived upon. The poem reflects on the author leaving his house and gazing at the sky, then going back in the house because he was cold. This poem delves into different themes. In this essay I will be exploring the different themes of the poem.
One of the main themes expressed in this poem is the theme of the time. The author waits a long time outside of his house. This is shown as he talks about how ‘the moon rolls over the roof’. In the end of the first stanza he mentions that the moon isn’t actually moving but it is his own perception. This may be because he waited for such a long time that the moon moved across the sky and that from his viewpoint across the roof or that he was moving himself and seeing the moon at different angles. In the 5th stanza, the poet says ‘A long moment stretches, the next one is not on time’. This shows a desire for order. This relates to perception of time, as he doesn’t see time pass when he wants something to last.
The next theme I will be reflecting upon is the theme of perception. This is first mentioned in the first stanza where he sees the moon as rolling over the roof and falling down but later on he realizes that the moon isn’t actually rolling over the roof. This is a misconception of what is actually happening. In the 6th stanza, when the author writes ‘the night sky empties the whole of his contents down’ that is again a misconception of what is actually happening. He is using personification to explain this. Perception is also challenges in the 5th stanza. This is closely related to what was written in the previous paragraph on time. His perception of time is faulted depending on how he feels.
The biggest theme of this poem, is the theme of creation, this theme has a large impact on the poem as the poet reflects on it quite a bit. In the 3rd stanza the poet writes ‘into the washed out creation, a dark place’. In the beginning of this stanza the author talk about normal, domestic things like a porch or a privet but he then stars out into raw creation. The ‘dark place’ might be just the actual creation itself. In the next stanza, the author moves on to talk about ‘bright clouds’. This could be light coming from darkness and description that even in the darkest time of the day, there are still rays of light. In the last stanza the author talks about a ‘cringing demiurge’.
A demiurge is a creator of universes, someone who creates. This is again linked to the theme of creation. During the poem Allen Curnow often tries to create some form of poetic structure but seems to fail continually. When he uses the word cringing maybe he his comparing himself to a demiurge that is forging the poem, or maybe he is blaming the demiurge for giving him insomnia, driving him outside and even then not letting him on any inspiration. The litter and the tools could be the feeble attempts to poet had made to create a worthy piece of work. In a sense this is paradoxical as the poet writes about not being able to write poems in a poet
In conclusion, the three different themes mentioned above are all in some way or another related to each other. This is particularly seen in time and perception. The perception of time itself reflects both themes. This poet has used a lot of metaphysical ideas and the poem reaches an extremely deep meaning. The theme of creation reflected on in this poem is very influential on the rest of the poem. The author uses these three themes to reflect on himself and his reason for a lack to produce anything. In a sense this is paradoxical as the poet writes about not being able to write poems in a poem.
Courtney from Study Moose
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