Time - npillay5A2010

By Allen Curnow
Born in Timaru, Christchurch in 1911, died in 2001
Attended University of Canterbury and Auckland
In 1934, he found a job at the Auckland Star and started writing poems.
Was very successful, receiving numerous famous awards, including the
Order of New Zealand in 1990.
Allen Curnow wished to answer questions that did not present
themselves as public and answerable, but questions which are always
private and unanswerable.
The poem ‘Time’ was included in his collection in reverse chronological
Stanza 1
I am the nor'west air nosing among the pines
I am the water-race and the rust on railway lines
I am the mileage recorded on yellow signs.
-Associated with olden age, isolation and peace.
- “nosing” personifies air
-Time is dynamic like the “water-race”
-Static like the unused railway
-The ‘mileage’ presents the idea of distance
These images imply that time allows people to move through life and their destinations,
though time itself is static like the mileage shown on the “yellow signs.”
The first stanza presents a mysterious opening.
Stanza 2
I am dust, I am distance, I am lupins back of the beach
I am the sums sole-charge teachers teach
I am cows called to milking and the magpie's screech,
-Rural association
-Only line of the first 4 stanzas which have four “I am”s in one line
-All three things contrast – dust, distance lupins showing the expansiveness of time
-”sole-charge teachers” emphasizes the rural environment which time is lingering on in
this stanza.
-The farm animals also add to the peaceful atmosphere.
-Appeals to the senses with sight and sound
-Again, thanks to time these events exist
Stanza 3
I am nine o'clock in the morning when the office is clean
I am the slap of the belting and the smell of the machine
I am the place in the park where the lovers are seen.
-Urban Area <time constantly changing>
-Mentions a specific time <time is quantifiable>
-Time marks the beginning of work in an ordinary office in society, allows loving to
occur, and allow humans to be productive.
-Appeals to Sight, Sound and Smell.
Stanza 4
I am recurrent music the children hear
I am level noises in the remembering ear
I am the sawmill and the passionate second gear.
-Time is at work when music is played – tempo is important <allows music to exist in
the world>
-Perhaps a driver is hurrying due to the existence of time, as he is changing to a higher
-Appeals strongly to the sense of sound
Stanza 5
I, Time, am all these, yet these exist
Among my mountainous fabrics like a mist,
So do they the measurable world resist.
-Simile shows that time is everything
-This stanza hints that the world is measurable, whilst time itself is
immeasurable and abstract.
Stanza 6
I, Time, call down, condense, confer,
On the willing memory the shapes these were:
I, more than your conscious carrier.
Call down – reprimand, scold
- request or pray for
Condense - to become more compact, perhaps changing shape in this case
– to offer a gift
Attempts to personalize time using this alliteration.
Conscious Carrier
-Heavy Consonance on ‘C’ and also breaks the rhyme
-Time allows memories
Stanza 7
Am island, am sea, am father, farm, and friend,
Though I am here all things my coming attend;
I am, you have heard it, the Beginning and the End.
Personalizes time by saying it is an -island,
Concluding sentence – Time encompasses everything from the start to end; virtually
everything is associated with time.
Also, the first instance of the use of past tense occurs
Time is ubiquitous, allows for memory and a
force which is dynamic and passive.
Time allows for the existence of everything, and if
there was no dimension of time in the universe,
nothing would exist.
How does the poet convey the various concepts
of time in the poem?

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