I was slightly confused when I read this poem at first, but it became apparent from the rich metaphors, that it was about the sexual relation between the woman and man. It is also about conception - or rather the potential of creating a child from this sexual act - told from the woman's point of view.
Judith Wright was very bold in writing such a poem since it was published in 1949, when such issues weren't discussed in the public, but as a well-regarded poet, she had achieved a good reputation for expressing herself, and therefore could write a subjective poem about this issue.
The main idea of this poem, is based upon female sexuality and sensuality, and that sex is symbolic of life, or death if pregnancy fails.
The title seems to mean now, "Woman to Man" as if the woman is offering herself to the Man, offering her body to create a child, through the act of sex. It also means that the woman has something to give to the man, not only the pleasure, but through blood and pain, a child.
The language compliments the mood of this poem, as it varies from a sad and melancholy cry, to a voice of hope, all in a constant confident feel, and by this, the poet's reflections and contemplation?s are communicated successfully to us, making us feel in the same way she has felt.
The first stanza begins with a bold and confident entry describing in a simple way the sexual relation between the man and the woman; or better said; Woman to Man. The 'seed' which the woman holds - has the potential of becoming a child. The image of the day of birth as a ?resurrection day? is important in this respect for, just as the resurrection of Christ defeated death, so too, does each individual...
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final line - "Oh hold me, for I am afraid." This line is wholly successful on a dramatic level; for here the real world of passion and pain breaks in. At the same time the poem as a whole has
suggested that in each sexual act there is the potential for the creation of new life which challenges time and death. The woman is the proud yet fearful instrument of this process.
The poem has a rhythmic pattern that compliments the metaphors and paradoxes. The stanzas begin and end, individually, for the first and last lines rhyme, which creates a feeling of ?wholleness? to each stanza, quite appropriate to the act of creating or bearing a child.
It is like a song, a pentameter that begins bold, but ends in a quiet tone, making its reader reflect, not only about the ending, but the entire poem as a serious issue, that fornication is, or can be, a holy act.
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