Looking at these two poems describing a natural scene (“A Mid-Summer Noon…” & “Bell-Birds”), say what you think each poet values and how they differ in their appreciation and their expression.
Over the passed weeks, the two poems, a Mid-Summer Noon, written by Charles Harpur in 1853, and Bell-birds, written by Henry Kendall in 1869, have been enjoyable to read for the specific use of comparison, that is, appreciating the authors intent individually as well as comparing the poems to one another to experience different perceptions on both natural environments.
The first poem, A Mid-Summer Noon, speaks of nature within the five stanzas. Stanza One gives off a quite feel with sentences such as “not a sound disturbs the air”. This opening sentence portrays a large picture to me. It paints a picture of an open field of possible mountains, where half of your sight is of the natural ground, and the other half full of air – the sky, clouds, sunlight, blue, grey and white. The space is so big, yet not a sound fill it. It is very quite within this first stanza. I believe Harpur’s intent here was to exemplify the peace associated with the land, a peace that one can experience in a place of isolation from people and total connection with nature.
However, Stanza Three takes a different approach. “’Tis the dragon-hornet – see!” the last word here, “see!” adds intensity, it is allowing us to not only read what we have read, but to rethink it after the act of reading it. different emotions and colours are also portrayed within this stanza that differs from the first stanza. “Of a vermeil-crusted seal, Dusted o’er with golden meal. Only there’s a droning where Yon bright beetle shines in air, tracks in it’s gleaming light, rising in the sunshine higher, till it shards flame out like fire.” These few lines paint a different picture, they are warm colours, hot environments, intense situations and definitely not quiet.
I believe that Harpur was trying to express how nature is not boring, it is not discrete, rather intense and continuous – it is forever changing but yet remaining the same. That is, the emotions we feel change depending on the time of year, but the natural elements themselves do not change.
The second poem studied this week, Bell-birds, gave me a totally different feel when reading it alone, but even more so when comparing the poem previously read. The first four lines actually reminded me of A Mid-Summer Noon, the words, white, grey, cold, dry and open come to mind. “grey winter hath gone, like a wearisome guest, and behold, for repayment, September comes in with the wind of the west and the spring in her raiment!” Reading this at first, I thought the intent of the author was to paint a miserable picture, but after comparing and re-reading, I caught the word that I had previously missed, “hath gone”. This part of the poem completely changed my perspective as I realised that the picture that was just painted in my mind was gone.
Spread-out throughout the stanzas is then mentions of summer months, which is the continuous theme. Within the last stanza, a feeling of wanting to remember comes across the reader, that is, the author wants to remember the picture being depicted within the writing. The author wishes to have inspiration to write with passion with bell-bird sounds, providing relief from the city. The mention of the birds creates a peaceful feeling, further allowing the reader to embrace the sound of silence excluding bird chirps, which ultimately means the reading hears a calming noise. Bell-birds themselves are of yellow colour, further giving off that warm feeling. I believe this author enjoys the silence, but not silence as in no noise but silence from society – no city, no cars, no people, just animals such as birds chirping and bees buzzing.
I have enjoyed my learning experience of taking nature, and understanding how different silences can be enjoyed.
I have chosen this photo as i believe it catches the warm yellow emotion in the back ground, which happened later in the poems, and the silence of nature in the body of the photo, as it was the start of the poems.