Could someone please provide me with an analysis of the poem Time by Allen Curnow?  

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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A poetic analysis is a process in which a reader must consider/do the following things:

1. Discuss/describe what happens in a/the passage and its significance to the work as a whole.
2. Consider what is said in regards to imagery and the ideas expressed.
3. Consider word choice, order of ideas, and structure and how they contribute to the meaning.
4. Explain what it means to you as the reader.

Therefore, when examining Allen Curnow's poem Time, one needs to examine the text as a whole, how each of tis parts work, and the poet's choice of words. After, one needs to define what the poem means to him or her.

In the first twelve lines of the poem, each line begins with "I am." This provides no question in the reader's mind that time is evident and relevant in all things.

It is not until the thirteenth line that I is named (outside of the title):

I, Time, call down, condense, confer.

Here, time is naming itself as the element found in all things. At the closing of the poem, the final line solidifies Time's importance:

I am, you have heard it, the Beginning and the End.

Here, one could look at the statement in two very different ways. First, Time is self-confident and self-assertive. It states "you have heard it" as a statement of fact given Time just told you. Second, it assumes that, outside of the poem, the reader has heard that time encompasses all.

As for a personal analysis of the meaning, the poem speaks to the fact that time is one thing on earth which has its hold on all aspects of life. At no place, in no sense, can we (as humans or animals) escape from time. It is all encompassing.

Therefore, given the repetitious use of "I am," the reader is left with no question as to who has the power over all. Curnow's poem is relevant, honest, and truthful. His word choice supports the power of time and the importance of time. Overall, the poem flows wonderfully and provides a very specific idea.

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