James Mcauley

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James McAuley’s “In Northern Tasmania” is a poem describing a mundane day in northern Tasmania. However, it is filled with poignancy because the poet feels as time passes; the life of a person reduces. He further adds that only they who had lived the life know that time waits for no one and when the time has come, they must slowly let go and move on. The poem presents a lucid image of the cold weather after it rained and shows how time and life is moving on without even realizing it. This poem is written in iambic tetrameter. This suggests that there are four feet per line with an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable and occurs alternately. Though, there are some irregularities such as a spondaic foot in line 7: “Timber-trucks pass now and then,” After the word “Timber-trucks” which has two stressed syllables, the poem falls back into its regular meter. Besides that, there is an amphibraic foot in line 13 with the word, “overwhelms”, the sound of –ver is longer and stressed between two unstressed syllables. Lastly in line 14, the word “gradually” would be pronounced as “gradu-lly”, in three syllables rather than four so that it will fall into its regular meter. In addition, the rhyme of the first two stanzas goes A B B A and C D D C respectively; however it is E F F in third stanza and G E G in the fourth stanza. Besides the end rhymes, there are the internal rhymes such as the words; “fields” (1) and “ewes” (2) and also “faintly” (3) that rhymes with “silently” (4). Likewise, end-stopped lines are a feature in this poem which goes: “Soft sodden field. The new lambs cry, / And shorn ewes huddle from the cold.” (1-2). There are also enjambment such as lines 9 and 10: “At dusk I look out through old elms / Where m... ... middle of paper ... ...us, the effect it has on them. The relationship between the irony and personification that the poet applied is that he is mocking the “mud-pools” (10) that can give light indicates that there is hope even in the darkest moment. However, in his next line he states: “A way of life is in decline,” (11). Presumably, his health is deteriorating and with the mockery, he cannot see that glimmer of hope. Which then follows with his application of personification, the poet realizes that: “And only those who lived it know / What it is time overwhelms, / While they must gradually let go.” (12-14). Hence, the poem “In Northern Tasmania” is a slow and heavy poem as the poet recites the gloomy weather and how time takes life away. The poet has also utilized various figures and tropes in his poem such as hyperbaton, polysyndeton and imagery; and personification and irony.

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