How does the poem "Continuum" by Allen Curnow relate to it's title?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a fascinating poem that is about the whole process of creative inspiration and how poetry is birthed and crafted. Of course, at first glance it appears that this subject of the poem has little therefore to do with its title, but let us remember that a continuum is a metaphorical line that is used to represent degrees of intensity of a particular characteristic. If you imagine a continuum of inspiration, you can place yourself somewhere on this line depending on how inspired you are feeling at any particular point. As the opening of this poem makes clear, the speaker is trying to position himself somewhere on this continuum of poetic inspiration as he is struggling to get to sleep and contemplating the moon outside his house:

The moon rolls over the roof and falls behind

my house, and the moon does neither of these things,

I am talking about myself.

The moon is of course a natural wonder that has been used in many works as a source of poetic inspiration. The fact that he ironically creates an image only to deny that it happens at once acknowledges poetic inspiration whilst at the same time undercutting it. The final image of the author going back to bed completes the somewhat tongue-in-cheek discussion of inspiration. At times, even the most natural beauty may not be enough to inspire us to write amazing poetry.

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