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...
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