In the poem "Time" by Allen Curnow, what are some examples of concrete and abstract images, and how are they important to the poem?

Some concrete images Curnow uses in the poem "Time" are those of dust, a sawmill, an island, and a farm. Abstract images include comparing it to "the Beginning" and "the End" as well as to "distance." Both are important to the poem, because Curnow is trying to convey that while we preserve time in concrete memories, it is vaster than our scraps of memory.

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A concrete image is one you can sense with any of the five senses: you can see it, hear it, feel it, taste it, or smell it. An abstract image, in contrast, is one that expresses a larger mental concept or idea.

A good example of a contrast between the two kinds of images is in the following part of a line:

I am dust, I am distance.

Dust is something concrete we can visualize. We can feel as it touches us. It has a taste as it enters our mouths and a smell. Distance, however, is a concept we can think about but which does not convey a sensory impression.

Curnow primarily uses concrete images in this poem. The poem itself is a list of images with which Time, personified, describes himself. Some examples include Time likening himself to "cows called to milking" and a "magpie's screech." These are, respectively, a visual and an aural image that convey the time of day associated with them. Time also compares himself to a sawmill, an island, a father, a farm, and a friend. These are concrete...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 870 words.)

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